|Photos Courtesy of Matt Bradley - Used with permission|
This king crab season scheduled to start October 15th is in jeopardy because of the government shutdown. For the boats cannot obtain their quotas and the required permits. The season which normally makes up 30-50 % of a fishermen’s annual income is delayed indefinitely as of now. The window of opportunity to catch this lucrative boost to the NW bottom line is narrowing. With the potential loss of revenue from halibut and cod unfortunately right behind the crabbing industry.
Seafood counts for 10% of the over all revenue in Alaska adding up to 34 billion dollars.
The affects of these restrictions could be catastrophic both in Alaska and down the western coast. Many local fishermen here in Oregon along with those in Washington state fish the waters of the Bering Sea. Bringing that money back to our local communities feeding into our economic base. Add in the processing plants and transportation workers and the potential dollar amounts that could be lost are staggering.
Think that this will not affect you? Think again. The Alaskan seafood industry accounts for approximately 80 million dollars in taxes and fees. The same taxes that provide schools, basic services and infrastructure. Where will that much needed money come from if not from the fishing industry?
On October 11th Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard well known for being on Discovery Channel’s television show Deadliest Catch, testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington D.C. Trying to relay how detrimental this delay could be to the state of Washington. With concerns of export revenue from Asian markets going into the pockets of Russian crabbers who do not face the same regulations.
While Captain Colburn is considered a celebrity for his part on Deadliest Catch. I can assure everyone that he and all the Captains, Boat Owners and Deckhands on the Deadliest Catch boats are first and foremost fishermen. Captain Keith’s testimony put a face on the thousands of people who rely on the industry to make their living.
For, the delay or worse case scenario, the complete loss of this king, halibut and cod season, could put many smaller boats out of commission indefinitely. While sitting in port, bills still need to be paid. Without the money to pay them, the alternatives and choices will be difficult ones.
As the VIP guest relations director for the Commercial Fishermen’s Festival in Astoria, Oregon. I have heard the pleas from many of my friends who are in Dutch Harbor, Alaska at the moment just waiting, hoping, wanting to work.
If these men are willing to risk their lives to provide for their families, put food on our tables, bring revenue to our communities. Should our government have the right to restrict them from doing so?
The NW is my home, there is nowhere I would rather live, work and play. One voice is all I have to give, Yet, I have never been known to go down without a fight. Especially when it comes to having the backs of my friends and our community. Together we can be heard to protect this vital industry. It is time to get the crab pots off the deck and into the water.
Written by Mitzi Hathaway
Special thank you to Matt Bradley of the F/V Northwestern who sent these recent photographs
of Dutch Harbor to be used in this blog article.
Please contact your local congress representative today.
Don Young - http://donyoung.house.gov
Suzanne Bonamici - 1st district - http://bonamici.house.gov
Greg Walden - 2nd district - http://walden.house.gov
Earl Blumenauer - 3rd district - http://blumenauer.house.gov
Peter DeFazio - 4th district - http://www.defazio.house.gov
Kurt Schradet- 5th district - http://schrader.house.gov
Suzan DelBene - 1st district - http://delbene.house.gov
Rick Larsen - 2nd district - http://larsen.house.gov
Jaime Herrera Beutler - 3rd district - http://herrerabeutler.house.gov
Doc Hastings - 4th district - http://hastings.house.gov
Cathy McMorris Rodgers - 5th district - http://mcmorris.house.gov
Derek Kilmer - 6th district - http://kilmer.house.gov
Jim McDermott - 7th district - http://mcdermott.house.gov
David Reichert - 8th district - http://reichert.house.gov
Adam Smith - 9th district - http://www.house.gov/adamsmith
Denny Heck - 10th district - http://dennyheck.house.gov
To find your state's representatives go to: http://www.govtrack.us/