Working Waterfronts Act introduced by AK Sen. Lisa Murkowski

The Act creates a pilot grant program to promote sustainable economic growth in the Blue Economy.

by | February 12, 2024

Filed Under Congress

Focuses on infrastructure, marketing, workforce development, alternative fuels and more

Downtown at Kodiak, AK

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on Feb. 12 introduced the “Working Waterfronts Act of 2024,” a bill to support fishermen by addressing the needs of the nation’s working waterfronts. This bill establishes a pilot grant program to transition commercial fleets to alternative fuels, improves critical dockside infrastructure for fishing communities, improves marketing of U.S. seafood products, supports our maritime workforce development, creates an innovation prize for developing electronic fisheries monitoring and data analysis tools, and promotes economic growth and sustainability in the Blue Economy, among
other benefits.

“The blue economy continues to be a growing and thriving industry full of opportunity for coastal communities in Alaska—and that’s why I’m focused on bolstering the workforce and strengthening shoreside and coastal infrastructure through the Working Waterfronts Act. I want to thank the many Alaskans who engaged with my team and I to craft this legislation. You shared your thoughts and ideas with me—and we have a strong product,” said Senator Murkowski. 

She added: “Our state is home to 66,000 miles of coastline, with thousands of people reliant on our rivers and oceans that can house successful fishery operations, tourism opportunities, mariculture, and more. To ensure that we capitalize on the opportunities that exist through the blue economy, we need to ensure that we have the infrastructure and workforce to support our goals. This bill won’t just help young fishermen and innovative entrepreneurs but will boost research and climate change mitigation efforts as we work towards a more sustainable future. I’m proud to introduce this bill that holistically invests in coastal communities and the blue economy.”

Robert C. Vandermark, executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, released the following statement:

“The Working Waterfronts Act addresses many of the challenges facing our coastal communities. The Network applauds Sen. Murkowski’s comprehensive approach to dealing with those challenges and her commitment to finding solutions. Our coalition welcomes the resources to modernize and upgrade shoreside infrastructure and better understand and address the effects of ocean acidification and climate change on marine life and coastal communities. This bill will also encourage workforce development, including entry-level opportunities for small-scale fishermen. The Network supports continued efforts to build a strong foundation for a thriving U.S. fishing industry and the Blue Economy, and we look forward to putting our efforts behind this bill until it becomes law.”

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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