GOV. BILL WALKER MUM ON ALASKA SALMON RUSTLERS
So far, no word from Gov. Bill Walker concerning the Chinese pirating of Alaska salmon through illegal drift netting.
No word of congratulations to the Kodiak Coast Guard crew responsible for the interception of a pirate fishing vessel on June 21.
No condemnation of the Chinese illegal fishing that is rampant on the high seas.
Last Thursday, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley detained the Chinese fishing vessel Run Da for illegal driftnet fishing in international waters. The intercept occurred on the high seas about 750 nautical miles east of Hokkaido, Japan.
Eighty tons of Alaska salmon were seized – the protein weight of 1,500 head of cattle. It was the first apprehension of a large-scale, high seas driftnet vessel since 2014.
The Alaskans for Dunleavy campaign took notice today, criticizing Gov. Walker for once again remaining silent as China has its way with Alaska. The governor also remained silent for days following the announcement of China’s tariffs on Alaska fish. Walker wants China to finance and build an 800-mile gasline to Nikiski from the North Slope.
“Alaska-based US Coast Guard raids a Chinese fishing vessel for poaching 80 tons our salmon. And yet, Bill Walker says nothing. Why? Bill Walker wants China to own Alaska’s gas line. They’ve already bought his silence,” Dunleavy for Alaska posted on Facebook.
While it’s not clear Walker will get his way and allow China to actually own the gas line, he does want China’s money. His silence on Chinese tariffs on Alaska seafood was also noted recently, forcing the governor to finally make a statement that Alaska gas, beer, and baby food would balance the trade deficit. The statement took him three days to cobble together.
The 164-foot fishing vessel intercepted this week had 29 crew members and 80 tons of chum salmon on board — salmon that would have been headed to the Yukon River. The ship and crew were released to the custody of the People’s Republic of China for further prosecution under a joint U.S. and China memorandum of understanding signed in 1991, which establishes procedures for handing over Chinese fish pirates to Chinese authorities.
Commander of the Haley, Jon Kreischer, is well known in Alaska Coast Guard and maritime circles, having been executive officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore out of Cordova, and commanding officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty out of Auke Bay.
Sen. Dan Sullivan, who was at Eielson Air Force Base with Defense Secretary James Mattis, congratulated the men and women of the Alex Haley, “for their steadfast work to intercept and detain this vessel suspected of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.”
“Each year, illegal fishing produces millions of tons of seafood – threatening our fishermen and the overall health of our fisheries resources,” he said. “This truly is a global problem, which is why I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation into law – the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act – to increase enforcement capabilities for a number of international fishery agreements and give our U.S. enforcement authorities, including the Coast Guard, the tools and resources it needs to combat this type of illegal activity.”