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It’s good news whenever the governor is thinking about salmon, and that’s what Gov. Parnell is doing as he builds his FY2014 budget.
The state’s top executive Tuesday announced a five-year, $30-million chinook salmon research initiative to be proposed in his budget.
The idea, according to the governor’s office, is to develop strategies “to enhance viability and increase returns, using improved information from 12 indicator river systems from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic.”
The first year’s $10 million would be on top of about $14.6 million the Alaska Department of Fish and Game spends each year on king salmon research and management.
As with every other bit of spending our state does, of course, legislators will have to ask where the money will come from. But it can’t be denied that salmon and the fishing industry are vital to Alaska’s economy. If they suffer, we all suffer. An investment in keeping our fisheries healthy is an investment in keeping our people healthy, too.
To be healthy, we need a strong economy, and fisheries are a huge part of that in Alaska, in Southeast, and in Ketchikan.
Think salmon: We like it. We welcome the governor’s idea.