The state is finally in its plodding way thinking about how to fix the problem of disappearing Alaska Limited Permits. As an Alaskan I am angry that fixes take so long--the permitting program began in 1975, and as fisherman George points out in "Rough Waters" he very soon saw the effects--disappearance of younger faces on the docks looking for work as deckhands. What did the state expect? You don't plan to stay a deckhand forever in the small boat fleet. How many younger persons can afford to buy a permit in 4 to 5 figures? On top of costs of boat, license, gear etc? Average age of permit holders is now 50.
L. Welch states that between 1975 and 2014, 2300 permits left Alaska (28%), many for that reason. More also left the small villages and towns for the cities of AK. If that is bad, the fed program did it in spades with catch share.
The AK House is now considering a bill to create regional trusts whereby communities could buy these permits and keep fishing local by leasing them out to younger folks/deckhands who are would-be skippers.
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