One Alaska Legislator Proposes a Whopping 12.5% New Tax on all Fish Landings From State Waters
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – February 25, 2016
Earlier this week, Senator Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla) introduced SB198, a bill that would impose a royalty tax on seafood caught commercially in the state.
The tax would be 12.5 percent on “the value of fish caught in state waters that the person removes from the state or transfers to a buyer in the state under the authority conferred by the limited entry permit or interim-use permit.”
The royalty tax would be on top of other taxes and assessments, most which are levied on the tonnage of fish caught. For many fishermen, these taxes and assessments already approach 20 percent of the value of the delivery before any expenses are taken off, including fuel, boat payment, and crew payroll.
As with other taxes, the processors would collect the tax upon delivery, keep records and submit payment to the state. Dunleavy’s bill includes a provision for direct marketers or fishermen who do not deliver to processors, to pay the state directly.
The additional money, which could approach $50 million for Alaska’s salmon fisheries alone, will go directly to the general fund and not be distributed to coastal communities or boroughs.
Chignik fishery changes on BOF agenda
Chignik fishermen are asking the state Board of Fisheries to increase the focus on pink and chum salmon management in their area.
KDLG By Molly Dischner – February 24, 2016
The state Board of Fisheries is meeting in Anchorage this week to consider Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Island and Chignik fisheries issues. First up after public testimony will be discussion of a handful of proposed changes for salmon fishing in the Chignik Management Area.
Committee chair refuses to advance gov’s fisheries tax hike
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 24, 2016
Commercial fisheries may see taxes increase, but only if other resource industries do, too.
Under a budgetary thundercloud, Gov. Bill Walker is trying to squeeze funding from any source. A commercial fisheries tax bump, part of nine such bills in the Legislature, has slowed to a crawl in committee as fishermen decry it.
Labeling and Marketing
State Funding For ASMI Cut 30% in Proposed Budget Sent to House Finance Committee
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – February 25, 2016
A response to Alaska Governor Walker’s request for cuts across a broad operating budget for FY17, includes a 30 percent cut in state funding for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
The state’s share of funding for ASMI would cut $1.029 milion from ASMI’s state funding, leaving the state’s portion to just under $2.4 million in FY17. The bill, which included similar cuts to Tourism Marketing and Development, also recommends to phase out state funding to ASMI altogether by FY19.
ASMI has operated without state funds before, but it has been many years ago. If state funds were eliminated, ASMI’s revenues would be primarily from the industry assessment, paid by fishermen and processors. Federal funding of ASMI’s international program, received as a match for industry funding, would not be affected.
The recommended budget was sent from the House Finance Budget Subcommittee to the House Finance Committee with reductions of nearly 32 percent. Four economic development positions were cut with the following programs recommended to be eliminated outright: Seafood Industry Development, Maritime Industry Development, and the Alaska Economic Performance Report.
The budget subcommittee report noted, “It is the intent of the legislature that the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute develops a plan to phase out reliance on unrestricted general funds for seafood marketing by fiscal year 2019 and continue marketing on industry contributions.
“Further it is the intent of the legislature the plan includes consideration of increasing revenue from industry contributions to maximum allowed by law and deliver a report to the legislature not later than January 1, 2017,” the report concluded.
The subcommittee’s proposed operating budget included cuts to the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, Community and Regional Affairs, the business licensing authorities, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, and the Alaska Energy Authority.
The proposal could have further changes inthe House before it is approved. The Senate will undergo the same procedure and may come up with different budget amounts for ASMI.
The Alaska legislative session is three months long unless a special session is added. The 29th Alaska Legislature (second session) started January 19 and will conclude April 17.
Fish and pregnancy: mercury exposure outweighed by beneficial effects
Medical News Today by Marie Ellis – February 24, 2016
Among its myriad of health benefits, fish contains nutrients that are important for developing fetuses, which is why pregnant women are advised to eat two or three servings of fish each week. However, concerns over the detrimental effects of mercury – found in nearly all fish – have given pregnant women a reason to be cautious. Now, a new study suggests the negative effects of ingesting low levels of mercury through fish are outweighed by the beneficial effects for newborns.
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