STANDING FOR SALMON
Salmon have been important to Alaska's people since time immemorial. When Alaska became a State in 1959, our founders enshrined the importance of salmon in the Alaska Constitution.
In 2013, Stand for Salmon launched its campaign. Initially, we came together to defeat the dangerous HB 77, a bill that threatened our ability to protect wild salmon as Alaskans.
In 2015, fishermen from across the state demanded a "clear fish first policy" for Alaska. In the spring of 2016, a diverse group from around the Cook Inlet region convened to offer solutions to ensure Alaska salmon – and the communities, cultures, and economies dependent on them – thrive alongside responsible resource development in the state. The intent was for state decision makers to consider the benefits of updating Alaska’s 60-year-old law governing development in salmon habitat. Not only was it one of the state’s oldest laws, it was proving increasingly ineffective in the face of a new generation of mega-projects in Alaska.
The Alaska Board of Fisheries unanimously supported the recommendations of fishermen and women from across the state and the Alaska State Legislature introduced House Bill 199 in March 2017, sponsored by Rep. Stutes (R-Kodiak).
In May 2017, as a way to ensure follow-through on a strong mandate from Alaskans to improve the law, three leading Alaskan fishermen and women filed an application for the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative. And on October 13, 2017, our campaign team picked up petition booklets from the Division of Elections and hit the streets – giving Alaskans a voice in the effort to protect the strong legacy of Alaska salmon for future generations.
As the initiative gained momentum, the Legislative leaders tried again to address the issue through House Bill 199. But the bill, delayed by special interests, never made it out of committee.
In this time of fiscal uncertainty, Alaskans are being forced to live with less and make tough choices. Living with less salmon in our freezers, on our lines, or in our nets should never be a choice Alaskans have to make.
Vital salmon habitat and salmon populations continue to face risk – and the Alaska people and Alaska taxpayers will continue to pay the price if there is no change if the there is no change to responsible development standards in this state.
An overwhelming 41,999 Alaskans understood the need for a balanced approach to this issue and signed on to put the Yes for Salmon initiative on the ballot in January 2017. With the Legislature twice passing up the chance, Yes for Salmon exercises our constitutional right to make law via ballot initiative. And it provides an opportunity for our state to balance salmon habitat protection with responsible development.
This campaign remains committed to long term protection for salmon habitat. We know that protecting salmon spawning and rearing habitat is in the best interests of Alaska and we will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to ensure those protections.