Rep. Vance seeks to save Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery with pre-filed bill

Jan 15, 2021

Dist. 31 Rep. Sarah Vance
Credit AK State Legislature

Alaska House District 31 Representative Sarah Vance, a Homer republican, has pre-filed a bill that would declare the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery to be an allowed activity in Kachemak Bay State Park.
    A new management plan that is set for adoption soon by the Dunleavy Administration removes permission for the hatchery to operate, something it’s done for decades, first under the the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and more recently the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association.
    Vance discussed her plans with the Homer City Council at a recent work session.
    “So I have a bill for early introduction that right now clarifies that the Tutka Bay Hatchery will be compatible with state parks. That's how it will be introduced, but I am getting more insight as to how we can better word the legislation so that state parks can manage according to their regulations, be respectful of that, and also be able to support hatcheries statewide and kind of clarify the jurisdictions a little bit,” Vance said. “That one you'll be seeing soon because that does affect our economy and our way of life with food security here on the Lower Peninsula (which) is something that I definitely am going to be making more communication with the administration about.”
    Public comment on the Kachemak Bay State Park Plan is being accepted through next week.
    Vance also expressed displeasure with a recent change in commercial salmon fishing management in Cook Inlet.
    “The Cook Inlet EEZ is another area that's affecting the economy in our district. And I've been getting more information about that work. And, speaking with Johnny Mueller, who is the policy advisor over that, and working with other legislators that they intend to look at not closing that permanently, but possibly dual management. There are other areas of the state that they do share management with the feds. We know that Doug Vincent Lang does not like that at all,” Vance said. “I'm a state sovereignty person myself, however, I do not feel that shutting down the EEZ to commercial fishing is a good option by any means and want to promote a strong and healthy fishery all around.”
    The 32nd Alaska Legislature convenes on Tuesday in Juneau. Legislators will be required to wear face masks and visitors will not be allowed in the Capitol Building.