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More and More Non-Residents Hold Fishing Permits in Alaska

A new report indicates that more and more non-residents hold commercial fishing permits in Alaska. Limited entry permits are needed to fish in 65 commercial fisheries in Alaska and there are 79-different kinds of permits that cover different gear types. Currently there are over 16.5-thousand permits issued in Alaska. The new report shows that between 1975 and 2012 there have been over 38.5-thousand permit transfers in Alaska and just over 84-percent of permits have changed hands at least once. CFEC notes that on average 8.4-percent of all permits change hands each year. A closer look at the data for last year shows that just over 1-thousand permits were transferred out of the over 13.4-thousand permits that are transferable. When the limited entry permits were first issued, Alaska residents received just over 81-percent of the permits, which totaled about 13.5-thousand. 8.2-thoussand of those permits were issued to local fishermen who lived in areas classified as rural. 3.6-thousand permits were initially issued to local fishermen who lived in an area of Alaska classified as urban. Non-resident fishermen received just over 3-thousand permits. That means that 18.5-percent were given to non-Alaska residents. Over the years more and more permits have migrated into the hands of non-residents and they now own about 23.2-percent of the limited entry permits in the state. At the end of last year Alaska residents held over 10.9-thousand permits, which equals out to about 76.8-percent. The new report shows that most of the growth in non-resident ownership is due to Alaska resident permit holders who moved out of state. The new report also shows that more and more Alaskans hold permits in areas where they don’t live. However, that appears to be due to resident fishermen moving away from the area where their fishery takes place. A closer look at the data shows that since 1975 over 8.2-thousand permits were given to people who lived near their fishery. By the end of last year less than 6-thousand permits were in the hands of local fishermen who fished near where they live. The issue of retaining local fishing permits has become a priority in several areas of the state including in the Bristol Bay salmon fisheries where local fishermen have lost about 430 permits from those initially issued. It look s like 206 of those permits went to people from outside of Alaska. The new report from CFEC also looks at some of the demographics of commercial fishermen in Alaska with a specific emphasis on the age of fishermen. Back in 1975 the average age of permit holders was 42.7-years of age. By the end of last year the average limited entry permit holder was 49.7-years old. The new report is titled “Changes in the Distribution of Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Permits 1975 to 2012” and it can be found on the website of the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.