New bill introduced to U.S. Senate that could benefit Alaska’s coastal communities

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill Feb. 12 to support coastal communities. 

The legislation, called the Working Waterfronts Act, would establish grants for marine infrastructure and mariculture, resources for fishermen to convert boats to hybrid or electric engines, and improve research on ocean acidification, among other things. 

Murkowski’s office said in a press release the bill aims to improve food security, shoreside infrastructure, and even support federal conservation research projects. Several fishing industry groups and organizations voiced support for the bill. 

Bruce Schactler, the director of the National Seafood Marketing Coalition, thanked the senator in a statement, said “The provisions in the act will help the industry compete in a global market that has long ago passed us by with their subsidies that address labor, financing, technology, and marketing.” 

The senator said in the release she has been in contact with several ocean-based industry experts. Murkowski also asked for public feedback on what to include in the bill back in 2022.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, but it is unknown if it will take the bill.

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