Alaska is a state flush with billions of dollars in surplus oil revenue.
So it’s not unusual to see our legislators spend a good chunk of that money every year on capital projects — everything from road improvements to research equipment to artificial turf for high school football fields.
Deckboss reviewed the new capital budget the Legislature passed April 15 and couldn’t help but notice the sizeable sums awarded to the state’s hatchery operators, as well as shellfish growers.
Hatcheries are a huge factor in Alaska’s “wild” salmon harvests. The hatcheries pump millions of baby fish into the ocean, many to return as adult salmon that sustain commercial fleets and processors.
Legislators tend to notice industries employing thousands of people, so it’s no surprise to see some serious hatchery love in the capital budget.
It also helps to have a persuasive lobbyist in Juneau.
The Cordova-based Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp., one of the state’s biggest hatchery operators, employed two lobbyists this year for a combined $75,000, state records show.
Another hatchery operator, Juneau-based Armstrong-Keta Inc., employed a lobbyist for $30,000, and the Ketchikan-based Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association paid its lobbyist $15,000.
Anyway, here is a list of aquaculture items compiled from the capital budget bill, which is headed to the governor for his signature — and for possible line item vetoes.
•Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association — hatchery equipment and deferred maintenance, $455,000
• Crystal Lake Hatchery — deferred maintenance, $650,000
• Metlakatla Indian Community — design and construction of chum hatchery, $500,000
• Metlakatla Indian Community — net pens and hatchery improvements, $150,000
• Prince Of Wales Hatchery Association — hatchery equipment replacements and upgrades, $475,000
• Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association — Hidden Falls Salmon Hatchery, $1,237,000
• Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association — Medvejie Hatchery maintenance and facility improvements, $900,000
• Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association — Haines/Skagway spawning channels, $620,000
• Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. — Cannery Creek Hatchery, $5,263,000
• Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. — Main Bay Hatchery, $864,000
• Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association — Trail Lakes Hatchery, $1,025,000
• Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association — Tutka Bay Hatchery, $699,000
• Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, $460,000
• Kachemak Shellfish Mariculture Association — oyster remote setting facility, $60,000
• Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association — Kitoi Bay Hatchery, $1,550,000
• Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association — Pillar Creek Hatchery, $909,000
• Alaskan Shellfish Growers Association — shellfish industry technical assistance grants, $30,000
For a map of hatchery locations around the state, click here.