AK Congressional candidate Nick Begich asks anti-trawl group to craft his fish policy

Begich bashes damages by Seattle-based trawlers; says "AK fish policy MUST come DIRECTLY from the people."

by | June 19, 2024

Filed Under Bycatch | Congress | Trawl

Calls for ending damage to ocean ecosystem and elimination of bycatch; won’t accept funds from trawlers

Nick Begich, Republican candidate for Alaska’s lone seat in Congress, held nothing back on his Facebook page with a June 19 post that asks the members of the popular anti-trawl group STOP Alaskan Trawler Bycatch to craft his fishery policy.

Begich is running in the November election against Republican Nancy Dahlstrom and Democrat incumbent Mary Peltola.

Below is Begich’s Facebook post in full, including the images he posted.

FISHING FAMILIES FIRST: A member of Congress must represent the people, not special interests and their armies of DC lobbyists. I’m doing something that has never been done for Alaska’s fishing families: DIRECT representation.

After hearing from constituents, seeing the wanton waste of by-catch, learning about the tremendous damage caused by the Seattle-based trawl fleet, and understanding the scope of financial interests at play, it’s clear that Alaska’s fish policy in Congress MUST come DIRECTLY from the people. That is why today, I am asking the 40,000 members of the STOP Alaskan Trawler Bycatch group to construct my congressional fish policy.

I am committing today publicly to support the policy that the STOP Alaskan Trawler Bycatch team recommends and to hit the ground running once elected. If you are not a member of this group and would like to weigh in, I’d advise you to join and get involved in the discussion. I understand clearly that outside interests will be alarmed at this decision and will likely do all they can to stop my effort to represent the people of Alaska, but as has been true from day one, I am not interested in representing them, I am interested in representing YOU.

As I have already stated publicly:

1. To avoid even the appearance of conflict, I will not accept funds from the trawl fleet, and if such funds are inadvertently accepted, notify us and they will be promptly returned.

2. We must end any practice that leads to the destruction of our seabed ecosystem.

3. Our long term goal must be to eliminate bycatch.

It will be up to the community to self-organize, determine how they would like to achieve consensus, and how to ensure that the policy constructed best represents the comprehensive fisheries and people of Alaska. I trust the community’s ability to do just that. Now, let’s get to work, develop a set of policies that we can implement, and get to DC to ensure that the PEOPLE’S VOICE is heard once again.

Sincerely,

Nick Begich

Learn more about Nick Begich in this Q&A by The Watchman

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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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