Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:02 PM on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bill which would allow geoduck farming is poor public policy

Your Feb. 29 article on Rep. Paul Seaton generally sheds a positive light on his proposed legislation. However HB 60, which would allow geoduck farming in Southcentral Alaska waters, is one that should be defeated.

Unfortunately the Homer News failed to mention the fact that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game currently prohibits the farming of geoducks in this part of the state because they are not a native species here. Only one non-native species, the Pacific oyster, is allowed to be farmed in Alaska because they are unable to spawn in our cold waters, but that is not the case with geoducks. Not only does ADF&G prohibit the introduction of non-native shellfish, but it has spent millions of dollars on education and prevention efforts regarding non-native species because of the ecological havoc they can and do cause.

In addition to reversing a long-standing biological safeguard policy, Seatons bill would also be a triumph of politics over sound science.In his sponsor statement, Seaton admits that HB 60 would primarily benefit one private business, the Alutiiq Pride shellfish hatchery in Seward. Apparently the hatchery is struggling due to a faulty business plan and needs to be bailed out again it has already been heavily subsidized by the government for a number of years.

Allowing non-native species to be intentionally introduced into our marine waters to benefit a private business is simply poor public policy. Please contact Sen. Gary Stevens and encourage him to oppose HB 60.

Willy Dunne