Alaska Senator Introduces New Bill to Strengthen Coastal Workforce, Fisheries, and Infrastructure

By Carli Stewart.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced the Working Waterfront Act, legislation that includes more than a dozen provisions aimed at boosting the workforce, energy and shoreside infrastructure, food security, and economies of coastal communities in Alaska and across the country. The bill will also support efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and strengthen federal conservation research projects.

Murkowski began accepting feedback from Alaskan people to help draft the Working Waterfront legislation.

“The blue economy continues to be a growing and thriving industry full of opportunity for coastal communities in Alaska- and that’s why I’m focused on bolstering the workforce and strengthening shoreside and coastal infrastructure through the Working Waterfronts Act. I want to thank the many Alaskans who engaged with my team and me to craft this legislation. You shared thoughts and ideas with me, and we have a strong product,” shared Murkowski in a February press release.

“Our state is home to 66,000 miles of coastline, with thousands of people reliant on our rivers and oceans that can house successful fishery operations, tourism opportunities, mariculture, and more. To ensure that we capitalize on the opportunities that exist through the blue economy, we need to ensure that we have the infrastructure and workforce to support our goals. This bill won’t just help young fishermen and innovative entrepreneurs but will boost research and climate change mitigation efforts as we work towards a more sustainable future. I’m proud to introduce this bill that holistically invests in coastal communities and the blue economy.”

The Working Waterfront Development Act establishes a grant program for infrastructure improvements for facilities benefitting commercial and recreational fishermen, mariculturists, and the boatbuilding industry.