Walker orders mariculture task force

Gov. Bill Walker issued an administrative order on Feb. 29 establishing a mariculture task force for shellfish and sea plants.

Walker’s order responds to both economic and ecological concerns. The release touts the potential economic benefits to coastal communities and the Alaska fishing industry. 

Further, as ocean acidification continues to impact shellfish, Walker said the stocks need all the help they can get in recovering.

“Mariculture represents a tremendous opportunity to diversify our economy, strengthen our coastal communities, and provide healthy food to the world by using sustainable practices that are a foundation of our current fishery resources,” said Walker in a release. 

“The goal of this task force is to bring key stakeholders together and determine how the state can help this industry prosper with Alaska-grown products,” he said.

The task force carries no additional cost to the state — rather than establishing a budgeted agency, it asks for officials and stakeholders to meet a minimum of once every quarter to come up with a mariculture development plan.