Murkowski is introducing a working waterfronts bill to boost coastal workforce, fisheries and infrastructure
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KINY) – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has introduced the Working Waterfronts Act, legislation that includes more than a dozen provisions aimed at strengthening the workforce, energy and coastal infrastructure, food security, and economies of coastal communities. In Alaska and across the country. The bill would also support efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change on coastal communities and promote federal conservation research projects.
In October 2022, Senator Murkowski began soliciting comments from Alaskans to help shape working waterfront legislation.
“The blue economy continues to be a growing, thriving industry full of opportunity for Alaska’s coastal communities – which is why I am focused on strengthening the workforce and strengthening coastal and coastal infrastructure through the Working Waterfronts Act. I want to thank the many Alaskans who partnered with me and my team in crafting this legislation.” “You shared your ideas with me, and we have a strong product,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “Our state is home to 66,000 miles of coastline, and thousands of people depend on our rivers and oceans that can host successful fishing operations, tourism opportunities, and mariculture. And more. To ensure we take advantage of the opportunities available through the blue economy, we must ensure that we have the infrastructure and workforce to support our goals. This bill will not only help young fishermen and innovative entrepreneurs, it will strengthen research and climate change mitigation efforts as we work toward a more sustainable future. I’m proud to introduce this bill that invests holistically in coastal communities and the blue economy.
“The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) thanks Senator Murkowski for her continued efforts to support Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, which provides tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impact across the state. The Working Waterfronts Act would make the impactful changes needed Now, such as expanding fishermen’s and processors’ access to USDA loans, grants to improve waterfront infrastructure that benefits commercial fishermen, and creating a new program to improve marine workforce development, said Greg Smith, director of communications for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). : “These changes, along with many other changes in the law, provide much-needed relief to Alaska’s seafood industry, an essential pillar of Alaska’s economy.”
“Senator Murkowski’s Working Waterfronts Act addresses many of the issues relevant to the seafood industry in the United States today. The law’s provisions will help the industry compete in a global market that has long outgrown us through its subsidies that address labor, finance, technology, and marketing. “The provisions of the law will help the industry compete in a global market that has long outgrown us through its subsidies that address labor, finance, technology, and marketing,” said Bruce Schactler, director of the coalition. National Seafood Marketer: “Thank you, Senator Murkowski, for starting the process of helping the American seafood industry in so many ways.”
“Senator Murkowski’s comprehensive waterfront legislation is a beacon of hope for Alaska’s blue economy. By protecting our vital marine hubs, we are not only protecting our past, but also paving the way for a prosperous future. “We’re not only protecting our past, but also paving the way for a prosperous future,” said Peter Warden, Director, Alaska Fisheries Development Corporation. “Alaska residents need these types of forward-thinking initiatives, ensuring coastal communities thrive, marine industries thrive, and ocean resources are maximized for sustainable growth.”
“The Working Waterfronts Act addresses many of the challenges facing our coastal communities. The Network applauds Senator Murkowski’s comprehensive approach to those challenges and her commitment to finding solutions. Our coalition welcomes the resources needed to modernize and develop coastal infrastructure and to better understand and address the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on marine life and coastal communities. This bill will also encourage workforce development, including providing entry-level opportunities for small-scale fishermen. “The network supports ongoing efforts to build a strong foundation for America’s thriving fishing industry and blue economy,” said Robert C. Vandermark, Executive Director of the Marine Fish Foundation. We look forward to putting our efforts behind this bill until it becomes law.” Conservation Network.
Investing in energy and coastal infrastructure
- Tax credits for marine energy projects support projects that produce electricity from waves, tides, and ocean currents.
- Pilot program for alternative fuels for fishing vessels Provides resources to help fishing vessels transition from diesel to alternative fuel sources such as electric or hybrid, and funds research and development of alternative fuel technologies for fishing vessels.
- The Rural Coastal Community Processing and Cold Storage Grant increases support for community infrastructure such as cold storage, cooperative processing facilities, and mariculture and seaweed processing facilities by creating a competitive grant program through the Department of Commerce for rural and small-scale projects.
- The Working Waterfront Development Act creates a grant program to improve facility infrastructure that benefits commercial and recreational fishermen, aquaculture farmers, and the boatbuilding industry.
Promote the development of the maritime workforce and the blue economy
- The Navy Workforce Grant Program establishes the Navy Workforce Grant Program and directs the Administrator of the Navy to award competitive grants that support operating entities in recruiting, educating, or training the Navy workforce.
- The Fishing Industry Safety, Health, and Wellness Improvement (FISH Wellness) Act expands the Coast Guard’s Fishing Safety Research and Training (FRST) grant program and the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to include projects that support health Behavioral research is in addition to currently supported projects dedicated to occupational safety research and training.
- The Regional Ocean Opportunity and Innovation Act creates at least one ocean innovation cluster in each of NOAA’s five local fisheries regions, plus the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico regions. The Ocean Cluster model fosters collaboration between different sectors – including public, private and academic – within a geographic region to promote economic growth and sustainability in the blue economy.
Support sustainable and resilient ecosystems
- The Ocean Acidification for Coastal Communities Act promotes cooperation on ocean acidification research and monitoring through ongoing mechanisms to engage stakeholders in necessary research and monitoring. This provision would also create two seats on the advisory council for representatives of Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, tribal organizations, and tribal consortia affected by ocean acidification and coastal acidification.
- The Coastal Plant Ecosystem Inventory establishes an interagency working group to create and maintain a comprehensive national map and inventory detailing coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. This inventory includes habitat types, species, ecosystem conditions, ownership, protected status, size, salinity and tidal limits, carbon sequestration potential, and climate change impacts.
- Marine Invasive Species Research and Monitoring provides the resources and tools needed to mitigate the impact of invasive species and help limit their spread by allowing research and monitoring grants for local, tribal, and regional marine invasive species prevention work. This includes training, awareness and equipment for early detection and response to invasions.