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RDC comments on groundfish SEIS

In comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service, RDC endorsed Alternative One of the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.

Alternative One endorses the current conservation and management system created by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). The alternative takes into account the effects of management changes on fishermen, processors, local communities, and other interests.

Over the past 25 years, the NPFMC has used scientific and economic data to recommend hundreds of changes for fisheries management. During this period, no fishery stock managed in the Gulf or Bering Sea has been listed as over-fished.

RDC opposed alternatives which unnecessarily shorten fishing seasons or excessively decrease allowable catch. RDC also opposed alternatives that unnecessarily close near shore areas as they put small boat fishermen at risk. See RDC comments on the web at www.akrdc.org.

RDC calls for limits on EFH

Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) should be limited to areas truly essential to fish stocks and to activities that directly affect marine or estuarine environments, RDC stated in comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service on the scope of an upcoming environmental impact statement the agency is preparing for EFH components of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Plan.

RDC said that land-based development, wetlands dredge and fill permits, upstream discharges governed by the Clean Water Act and all other non-marine activities should be excluded from the EFH program.

The program was intended by Congress to be a streamlined, information-sharing process focused only on the most important fish habitat. Instead, it has evolved into a confusing, prescriptive regulatory program that encompasses all marine, coastal, estuarine and inland waters capable of sustaining fish. See RDC comments on the web at www.akrdc.org.

brief review

Judge hears oral arguments on beluga whale listing

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments last month on whether Cook Inlet beluga whales should be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision by the court on the merits of the case is likely to come sometime in August.

Trustees for Alaska is challenging a National Marine Fisheries Service decision to list the whale as threatened under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Such a listing gives the agency the tools that it needs to regulate Native subsistence hunting, considered the cause of a decade-long decline in the whale’s population.

Unlimited Native hunting, which had grown to an estimated 80 animals a year, was stopped in 1999. Since then the population has been slowly recovering.

An attorney for NMFS told the court that there is no evidence that other factors outside hunting contributed to the decline of the species or pose a future threat.

Both RDC and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association intervened in the case on behalf of the agency. The Municipality of Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Kenai Peninsula Borough also intervened on behalf of NMFS.

VECO is top exporter

An Alaska company that employs 4,500 people - over 2,000 of them in foreign countries - has been named Alaska’s Ex- porter of the Year for the year 2000. VECO was presented with the annual Governor’s Exporter of the Year award at the Export Alaska banquet in Anchorage this spring.

“VECO is an Alaska-founded and Alaska-owned company that exports project

Au

engineering, construction, and operations expertise around the world,” Gov. Tony Knowles said. “We congratulate VECO on their success in selling Alaska services and know-how into markets like Russia, China, Kuwait, India, Central Africa and Egypt.”

VECO has been a long-time member of RDC.

Check out new RDC website

To further promote RDC’s mission of “Growing Alaska through Responsible Resource Development,” RDC is working to increase its online presence

and educational efforts.

The

RDC

website

(www.akrdc.org) has undergone a recent facelift and now includes current and back issues of The Resource Review, hot action alerts, as well as updates and highlights of RDC events and issues.

Photos of recent events and fact sheets are presented for each major Alaska industry. The site is being up- dated daily and suggestions for content additions are always welcome (e-mail resources@akrdc.org).

Coming in future months, RDC members will be able to renew their membership, register for events, and participate in interactive issue debates, all online.

The site is being hosted by RDC Executive Committee member Scott Thorson of Network Business Systems (www.nbsys.com). RDC Projects Coordinator Jason Brune is heading up the website project.

Upcoming RDC events

Aug. 23: RDC Lunch featuring Craig Milan, President Royal Celebrity Tours and Jack Williams, President Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines/Captain Cook Hotel. Call RDC for reservations. Aug. 26-31: RDC Congressional staff tour of Alaska August 31: RDC Board tour of cruise ship docked in Seward Sept. 6: RDC Breakfast Forums begin Sept. 27-29: RDC Board Outreach to Kenai Peninsula (Seward, Kenai, Homer) Nov. 29-30: RDC Annual Conference at Sheraton Anchorage Hotel

gust 2001 / RESOURCE REVIEW / Page 7

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