Biden Administration Climate Change Letter from Alaskan Fishermen

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December 22, 2020

The Honorable Anita Dunn, Ted Kaufman, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Cedric Richmond, and Jeffrey Zients  Co-Chairs, 

Transition Team of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

1401 Constitution Ave NW

Washington, DC 20230

VIA ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION 

Esteemed Co-chairs and Members of the Transition Team,

We are Alaskan fishermen and we can tell you first hand that climate change has put America’s access to healthy, sustainable wild seafood at stake — and with it, thousands of fishing jobs, businesses, and communities dependent on access to wild seafood. Alaska’s coastal communities and fishermen need your leadership and support in advancing legislation that will help address the underlying causes of climate change, and provide fisheries and fishing-dependent communities with the tools we need to adapt and thrive in this changing world. The cost of inaction is one that we cannot afford.

Alaska’s fisheries are a renewable economic engine and source of nutritious, wild protein for not just Alaska, but our country. Nationally, Alaska produces more wild seafood than any other state in the country and generates $12.8 billion in annual economic output for the U.S. Additionally, Alaska’s commercial fisheries are the single-largest private sector employer in the state, providing more than 37,700 Full Time Equivalent jobs and generating $2.1 billion in annual labor income. In Alaska’s remote but thriving coastal communities, there is little else that can replace the engine of a blue economy.

We are eager to work with the new Administration to build on our fisheries successes. At the same time we are deeply concerned with the approach taken in Title II of the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, which proposes to close large sections of America’s federal waters to commercial fishing. Meaningful, equitable engagement with fishing communities must be a prerequisite to establishing broad ocean policy goals.  We strongly recommend that you actively involve the people and communities who know best the mysteries of the ocean and who have been sounding the alarm for ocean health for decades as partners in ocean governance.  

Areas where federal ocean policy can include and support fishermen and fishing communities: 

  • Reauthorize and update the Magnuson Stevens Act to include considerations for climate change, ecosystem-based fisheries management, sustained participation in local fisheries by community-based fishermen, and effective bycatch reduction mandates.  
  • Strengthen fisheries habitat protections by directing all federal agencies to avoid, minimize, and mitigate proposed actions that could adversely impact Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), and require that mitigation recommendations provided by NOAA in EFH consultations be adopted by action/lead agencies prior to permitting.
  • Address climate change by strengthening local food systems – Support small scale farms, ranches and fisheries in providing food to local and regional economies. Shorten food supply chains and build food security by reducing reliance on imported food, including seafood. 
  • Habitat protection in Alaska – Conservation of ocean and freshwater habitats is crucial for every organism in the ocean and for the communities that depend on these resources for survival. We fully support thoughtful measures to protect critical terrestrial salmon habitat areas such as in Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest. We urge you to recognize those areas that have already been protected by state or federal bodies to meet specific management objectives and to engage local stakeholders in any discussions of future habitat management actions.
  • Global emissions reductions – Ocean scientists have demonstrated that overall emissions reductions are the number one way to slow climate change, ocean acidification and protect our oceans and fisheries. Thus, policies to support carbon reductions are key. A carbon fee and dividend approach would shift the global economy toward nature positive relationships that respect planetary limits.

As fishermen, we have direct and vast knowledge of ocean conditions and the rapid environmental changes taking place. There is no replacing these insights, and you will find no better advocates for ocean health than the people who celebrate, ritualize and rely upon sustainable wild harvest of these resources. 

We are excited to work with an administration that prioritizes climate science and is committed to timely actions.  We ask that you include us in shaping the future of the environment we live in and depend on. You will find us to be valuable allies, and we welcome any and all opportunities to work together on climate solutions. 

Respectfully, 

Tele AadsenBellingham, WA 98229F/V Nerka, Bellingham, WA
Matt AboussieCarbondale, CO 81623Bristol Bay, AK
Grace AllanKodiak, AK 99615F/V Orion, Kodiak, AK
Keith AnundiScio, OR 97374F/V Lincoln rock, Wrangell, AK
Linda BehnkenSitka, AK 99835F/V Woodstock, Sitka, AK
Nancy BehnkenSitka, AK 99835F/V Dipper, Sitka, AK
Robbi BehrChestertown, MD 21620Set Gillnetter Egegik, AK
Benjamin BlakeySitka, AK 99835F/V N-20, F/V No Limit, SM-3, Sitka
Joyanne BloomJuneau, AK 99801F/V Rainy Dawn, Juneau, AK
Bob BowhayKodiak, AK 99615F/V Moondance, Kodiak, AK
Melanie BrownJuneau, AK 99802Set gillnetter, Naknek River District, AK
Margaret BurschHomer, AK 99603F/V Georgette Rose, Homer, AK
Benjamin CampenSitka, AK 99835F/V New Sunrise, Sitka AK
Emily CapjohnKodiak, AK 99615F/V Lady Jean, Kodiak, AK
Anna Casey WittePort Hadlock, WA 98339Set Gillnetter, Bristol Bay, AK
Sommers ColeJuneau, AK 99801F/V Energizer, Juneau, AK
Kate ConsensteinAnchorage, AK 99501Anchorage, AK
Joseph D’ArienzoSitka, AK 99835Sitka, AK
Amy DaughertyJuneau, AK 99801AK Trollers Association, Southeast AK
Callahan DillonJuneau, AK 99801F/V Shannon D, Juneau, ak
Michael DinkelAnchorage, AK 99507Retired Fisherman, Anchorage, AK
Mike DunnSitka, AK 99835F/V RADIO, Sitka
Tyler EmersonJuneau, AK 99801FV Natalee K, Auke Bay, AK
Sean FanslerSeattle, WA 98105F/V Wahoo, Juneau
Jeff FarvourSitka, AK 99835F/V Apollo, Sitka
Joanna FawcettSitka, AK 99835Deckhand on F/V DUNA, Sitka AK
Jacob FinsenSitka, AK 99835Sitka, AK
Eric ForrerAuke Bay, AK 99821Retired Fisherman, Juneau, AK
Greg FriedrichsPort Townsend, WA 98368F/V Arminta, Port Townsend
Meghan GervaisHomer, AK 99603F/V Maru, Homer, AK
Anjeanette GrantSitka, AK 99835Sitka, AK
Amy GrondinPort Townsend, WA 98368F/V Arminta, Port Townsend
Nathan GrueningJuneau, AK 99802F/V Dawn Treader, Juneau, AK
Charmagne GutierrezJuneau, AK 99801Juneau and Sitka AK
Alexandra HackettSitka, AK 99835F/V Myriad, Sitka
Adam HackettSitka, AK 99835F/V Myriad, Sitka
Eleanor HandCordova, AK 99574Pelican,AK and Cordova, AK
Kelly HarrellSitka, AK 99835Sitka Salmon Shares
Evan HartungJuneau, AK 99801Deckhand, Juneau, AK
Lauren HaugheyUvalde, TX 78801Rocky Beach Fish Site, Larsen bay, AK
Georgie HeaverleyAnchorage, AK 99508Cook Inlet Drift Gillnetter, Anchorage AK
Christa HooverCordova, AK 99574Prince William Sound Drift
Tillie HopeSitka, AK 99835Sitka, AK
Wesley HumbyrdHomer, AK 99603F/V Maria B, Homer, AK
Michael JacksonBellingham, WA 98225F/V Kelley J, Bellingham, WA
James JohnsonSeattle, WA 98107Union Crews of FVOA Fleet, Seattle, WA
Darius KasprzakKodiak, AK 99615F/V Marona, Kodiak
Peter KeutmannPetersburg, AK 99833F/V Eric, Petersburg, AK
George KirkKodiak, AK 99615F/V Arcticwave, F/V Phantom, Kodiak, AK
Casey KnightPetersburg, AK 99833F/V Canim, F/V Wildfish, Petersburg, AK
Michael KohanJuneau, AK 99801Sitka Salmon Shares
Emma KramerGirdwood, AK 99587F/V Emma Grace, Whittier
Dave KubiakKodiak, AK 99615F/V Lara Lee, Kodiak, AK
Steve KurianBloomsburg, PA 17815F/V Ava Jane, Naknek AK
Alexus KwachkaKodiak, AK 99615F/V No Point, Kodiak,AK
Emma LaukitisHomer, AK 99603F/V Stanley K, Homer, AK
Simon LawrenceKwethluk, AK 99621F/V St. Gabriel, Kewthluk, AK
Stephen LawrieSitka, AK 99835F/V Jennie Leigh, Sitka, AK
Madeleine LightseyHomer, AK 99603Boat Broker, Homer, AK
Michael LitmanSitka, AK 99835Precision Boatworks, Sitka, AK
James MacKovjakGustavus, AK 99826Retired Fisherman, Gustavus, AK
John MaherSitka, AK 99835F/V Mycia, Sitka, AK
Christine ManningWrangell, AK 99929Retired Fisherman, Wrangell, AK
Lance McCutcheonSitka, AK 99835F/V Kathleen, Sitka, AK
Brianne MecumJuneau, AK 99801F/V Energizer, Juneau, AK
Christopher MillerJuneau, AK 99801Deckhand, Bristol Bay, AK
Carolyn NicholsSitka, AK 99835Sitka, AK
Mark NiverWasilla, AK 99654F/V Surrender, Naknek, AK
David OenSitka, AK 99835F/V Endurance, Sitka, AK
Zach OlsonSitka, AK 99835F/V Sassy, Sitka, AK
Annika OrdJuneau, AK 99801F/V Williwaw, Juneau, AK
Theresa PetersonKodiak, AK 99615F/V Kenzie Jean, Kodiak, AK
Charles PetersonKodiak, AK 99615F/V Patricia Sue, Kodiak, AK
Elizabeth PetersonKodiak, AK 99615F/V Kenzie Jean, Kodiak, AK
Patricia PhillipsPelican, AK 99832F/V Pacific Dawn, Pelican, AK
Norman PillenAddy, WA 99101F/V Sea Lion, Sitka
Lance PrestonSitka, AK 99835F/V Duna, Sitka, AK
Lance PrestonSitka, AK 99835F/V Duna, Sitka, AK
Jacob PrivatSeattle, WA 98122F/V Acadian, Cordova, AK
Michael ReifSitka, AK 99835F/V Sea Roamer, Sitka
Jeff RobinsonPetersburg, AK 99833F/V Elinor Jane, Petersburg AK
Erick SaboGoodyear, AZ 85338F/V Alsatia, Ekuk, AK
Konrad SchaadHomer, AK 99603F/V Skua, Homer, AK
Megan SchrantzGirdwood, AK 99587F/V Tenacious, Seward, AK
Kimberly SeaterSeattle, WA 98146Cook Inlet Set Gillnetter, AK
Jay SimerkaPort Townsend, WA 98368F/V Sydney Jane, Port townsend
Marsh SkeeleSitka, AK 99835Sitka Salmon Shares, F/V Loon, Sitka, AK
Jeff StephanKodiak, AK 99615Independent Fishermens Marketing Association
Seth StewartPelican, AK 99832F/V Camosun, Pelican, AK
Jordan StoverHomer, AK 99603F/V Sophisticated Lady, Homer, AK
Tracy SylvesterWoods Hole, MA 2543F/V Faithful, Sitka, AK
Peter ThompsonKodiak, AK 99615Kodiak, AK
Hailey ThompsonKodiak, AK 99615F/V New Dawn, Kodiak, AK
Greg TurnerDelta Junction, AK 99737F/V Northern Chase, Skagway AK
Pedr TurnerGustavus, AK 99826FV Zapatista, Gustavus, AK
Greg WallaceKodiak, AK 99615Kodiak, AK
Cynthia WalleszBoise, ID 83706F/V Lofoten, Petersburg, AK
Stuart WeathersSitka, AK 99835F/V El Tiburon, Sitka,AK
Charlie WilberSitka, AK 99835F/V Alexa K, Sitka, AK
Tim WilkieSeward, AK 99664F/V Spectre , F/V Karma, Seward, AK.
Oceana WillsHomer, AK 99603Deckhand on F/V K2, Homer
Verner Wilson IIIDillingham, AK 99576F/V Helena Rene, Dillingham, AK
Amanda WlaysewskiPolson, MT 59860Kvichak Fish Co., Bristol Bay, AK