Sullivan, Alaska Fishermen Meet with Commerce Secretary & Senior Administration Officials on Seafood Market Crisis

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today is convening a roundtable meeting with Alaska community and fisheries leaders, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and other senior federal officials to discuss how the global seafood market crisis is impacting Alaska businesses, coastal communities, and fishermen. The discussion will focus on federal policy initiatives that can improve the competitive position of U.S.-produced seafood in global markets and ensure the long-term viability of the U.S. seafood industry. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) also joined the meeting.

“Alaska’s fishermen, seafood industry and coastal communities are in dire straits, facing the worst market conditions in decades,” said Sen. Sullivan. “High inventory and Russian dumping of seafood have eroded prices, and high production costs in the U.S only continue to accelerate. I convened this meeting with Secretary Raimondo and other senior administration officials because, like any other vital economic sector, our fisheries deserve secretarial leadership and a strategy across the federal government to meet these unprecedented challenges.”

“Alaska’s commercial fishing industry is in crisis, which is threatening our coastal communities,” said Matt Alward, President of United Fisherman of Alaska. “There are specific actions the federal government can take to help the fishing industry withstand the global market collapse. I look forward to presenting some of these ideas today at the roundtable, and I thank Senator Sullivan for this tireless advocacy of the fishing industry.”

“The fishing industry is in crisis,” said Joe Bundrant, CEO, Trident Seafoods. “We thank Senator Sullivan for his relentless advocacy on behalf of US seafood producers and for convening this very important meeting with Sec. Raimondo and others to chart a way forward.”

“Senator Sullivan has been a tireless advocate for the Alaskan harvesters and communities who rely on a healthy seafood industry,” said Cora Campbell, CEO of Silver Bay Seafoods. “His work is driving policy change and raising awareness that federal actions on trade and commerce can directly enhance sustainable economics for seafood harvesters and producers across the country who deserve recognition for their important contributions to US employment, infrastructure investment, food security, and economic activity. Today's meeting raised to the highest level at the Department of Commerce the very real and urgent needs of our nation's seafood producers.”

“Fishing is the backbone of all the CDQ communities, and vital for dozens of other communities throughout the State,”said Luke Fanning, CEO of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association. “The tax base and jobs that the industry provides are not replaceable. As a tireless advocate for Alaska’s fishing industry, Senator Sullivan organized this meeting so that we can make our case and tell our story to the Secretary of Commerce and other federal officials. Nothing less than our future is at stake.”

“The salmon market collapse has devasted the Bristol Bay economy and our residents' way of life,” said Michael Link, President & CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. “But we are in the midst of an unprecedent crisis across the entire seafood industry and BBEDC is heavily invested in salmon processing and all the offshore fisheries.  The seafood industry-wide crisis has crippled our ability to help the region withstand the salmon market collapse. We need “all-hands-on-deck" and we are extremely appreciative of Senator Sullivan for bringing us together with Secretary of Commerce Raimondo to identify specific actions the federal government can do to help us survive this crisis.” 

“We are facing major economic challenges with our fisheries in the Eastern Aleutians,” said Alvin Osterback, Mayor of Aleutians East Borough. “We appreciate Senator Sullivan’s engagement and exploration of ways the Federal government can help our fishermen, related businesses, and local government services.”

“We thank Senator Sullivan for his interest in Unalaska’s fisheries,” said Vincent Tutiakoff, Sr., Mayor of Unalaska.“We welcome support at the Federal level that can stabilize our fishing economy and ensure a strong future for our community.”

The Alaska seafood industry employs roughly 48,000 workers and provides a tax base for more than 142 communities.

The Alaska fisheries leaders attending the meeting are Matt Alward, president of the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA); Joe Bundrant, CEO of Trident Seafoods; Cora Campbell, president and CEO of Silver Bay Seafoods; Luke Fanning, CEO of Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association; Michael Link, president and CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation; Alvin Osterback, mayor of the Aleutians East Borough; and Vincent Tutiakoff, mayor of Unalaska.

In addition to Secretary Raimondo, administration officials attending the meeting include Marisa Lago, Commerce Department undersecretary for international trade; Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA fisheries; Bruce Summers, administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service; David Hogan, director of the State Department’s Office of Marine Conservation; Mahlet Mesfin, State Department deputy assistant secretary for oceans, fisheries and polar affairs; and Sushan Demirjian, assistant U.S. trade representative for small business, market access and industrial competitiveness.

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