The commercial fishing town of Petersburg welcomes industry representatives from around the state next week for a three-day meeting of the United Fishermen of Alaska.
The commercial fishing trade association represents 35 organizations from the Bering Sea to Seattle and will hold a fall board meeting here Tuesday, October 27 through Thursday, October 29th.
Julianne Curry, who grew up in Petersburg, is executive director of the organization. She said the UFA board meets twice a year, with the fall meeting alternating between Anchorage and other Alaska towns. “In odd years then we meet in a seafood community that has strong ties to the commercial fishing industry in Alaska,” Curry said. “So, this year that happens to be Petersburg. And this is actually the first time UFA has held a board meeting in Petersburg since 2001. So we’re really excited to be returning back to Petersburg.”
About 50 people are expected to attend. Besides the board members representing the various fishing groups, the meeting will also be bringing various state government officials to town to present on the theme for this meeting, seafood industry taxes and fees. Curry said a panel of officials will be presenting to the UFA board on the state’s budget and how commercial fishing fits into that discussion.
“The seafood industry contributes a significant amount of money into the general fund and into some the programs that impact us by our landing taxes and other taxes and fees,” she said. “And we really want to figure out where we fit into that budget discussion and we wanna make sure that we’re being proactive and that we are a basically a productive member of this conversation that’s happening on a statewide level.”
Guests expected to attend include Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner Sam Cotten along with the department’s new commercial fisheries director Scott Kelley. There will be representatives from Governor Bill Walker’s office, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.
Discussions will also be held on statewide and national issues, along with marketing efforts, environmental topics, enhancement efforts and subsistence. A representative from the Coast Guard will be talking about alternative compliance.
The meetings are open only to UFA members and their guests and will be at the Sons of Norway Hall, starting at 8 a.m. all three days. The first event is a seafood dinner at the PFI cookhouse Monday night.