SJR 22: Requesting research on fisheries and marine mammals in the Bering Sea.

00SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22 01 Requesting research on fisheries and marine mammals in the Bering Sea. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS the Bering Sea is one of the most productive fishing areas in the world; 04 and 05 WHEREAS the harvest of fisheries resources in the Bering Sea totaled 4,740,000,000 06 pounds in 1993 and 4,600,000,000 pounds in 1994; and 07 WHEREAS the harvest of fisheries resources in the Bering Sea was worth 08 $843,000,000 to commercial fishermen in 1993 and $893,000,000 to commercial fishermen 09 in 1994; and 10 WHEREAS fish and marine mammals from the Bering Sea are a principal source of 11 subsistence foods for the communities of western Alaska; and 12 WHEREAS the abundance of northern sea lions has declined by 70 percent since 13 1959; and 14 WHEREAS the productivity of northern fur seals on the Pribilof Islands has declined

01 significantly since 1960; and 02 WHEREAS the abundance of shellfish in the Bering Sea has declined precipitously 03 in recent years resulting in a closure of the Bristol Bay red King crab fishery in 1994 and in 04 reduction in the abundance of Tanner crab to less than a third of 1991 population levels; and 05 WHEREAS the biomass of pollock in the Aleutian Basin and western Bering Sea has 06 declined substantially in recent years due to overfishing and continues to decline despite a 07 closure of pollock fishing in the "Donut Hole" area since 1992; and 08 WHEREAS certain western Alaska chum salmon stocks have declined during the last 09 five years in spite of a five-fold increase in the total abundance of salmon in western Alaska 10 since the early 1970s; and 11 WHEREAS the biomass of arrowtooth flounder and other flatfish has increased 12 significantly (up to a ten-fold increase for some species) in the eastern Bering Sea since the 13 early 1970s; 14 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the 15 Congress to provide funding to the appropriate federal agencies and institutions to conduct 16 studies of the Bering Sea ecosystem to discover the causes of and to make recommendations 17 for addressing the dramatic changes occurring in the abundance of fish and marine mammals 18 in the Bering Sea. 19 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Al Gore, Jr., Vice-President 20 of the United States and President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Newt Gingrich, Speaker 21 of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Bob Dole, Majority Leader of the U.S. 22 Senate; and to the Honorable Ted Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, 23 and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in 24 Congress.