Alaska has a small but lucrative fishery for weathervane scallops, a sweet and extra plump variety.
The scallops are taken from beds in federal and state waters, with the majority of the catch coming from the federal side.
A cumbersome system of federal licenses and state permits limit entry in the fishery.
The handful of scallop participants want to keep the gate closed, and are trying to push through legislation in Juneau this session to extend limited entry in state waters for another five years at least.
The bill that's advanced the farthest is Senate Bill 54. Click the Documents button to read letters for and against.
This is a controversial issue, for a couple of reasons. First, the state scallop permits attach to vessels, not people as in the salmon, herring and other fisheries. That rubs some people the wrong way.
Second, some believe the scallop fishery is too concentrated in the hands of a very few persons or corporations.
Here's a report from within the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. It lays out what look like strategic business moves to consolidate control of the harvest.
Above all, scallop players don't want to see state limited entry expire after this year. This would allow the state waters to revert to open access, and would be bad for the fishery overall, in the view of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
At least three lobbyists are working on behalf of the Alaska Scallop Association, a fishery cooperative.
They include Frank Homan, a former CFEC commissioner, who has reported a fee of $12,000; Gerald McCune, $5,000; and Bob Thorstenson Jr., $5,000.
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