Alaska Charter News
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August 2020
Governor Dunleavy Announces New Inter-State Mandates
New Testing Protocols for Travelers to Alaska:
State of Alaska Covid-19 Information
Travel Update
Alaska’s new travel protocols take effect Tuesday, Aug. 11. All non-residents must arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or proof of a pending test result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. This new strategy will allow us to focus resources on travel within the state. More details of the plan will be posted as information becomes available.
  • Test 72 hours before departure, and upload negative result into the Alaska Travel Portal (link will be available soon)
  • If tested 72 hours before departure and awaiting results, travelers will need to upload proof of test taken into the Alaska Travel Portal and quarantine while waiting.
  • If a non-resident arrives without a pre-test, testing is available for $250 per test. The traveler will be required to quarantine while waiting on results.
Alaska Residents
  • Testing remains available at no cost to Alaska residents.
  • 14 day quarantine is still available to Alaska residents.
  • Alaska residents traveling back to home communities in rural Alaska will now have the option of testing at the airport sites, to prevent bringing the virus into our small communities.

Supplies and availability of testing kits worldwide, along with continuing outbreaks led officials to reserve enough for Alaskans first.

Until a vaccine is approved by the FDA, travel mandates and other health measures will be a fact of life.
The federal government initiated a Shark-Tank like competition for developers of a fast, low-cost rapid test. They expect a solution by the end of summer/early fall. 

We can report that some charter operators and fishing lodges are referring their guests to a number of companies that send out home test kits, with the results available electronically online. This allows people to get a test, continue with travel plans and get the results quickly in order to meet the 72-hour testing requirement by the state.

Chinook Shores in SE Alaska is using Pixel and reports fast results. Their guests are eager to visit Alaska and they haven’t had any problems with the system so far this season.

Guest can order a home test kit, return the swab to the lab by FedEx, and get results by email within a short time.
Senate Passes Language to Allow Funding for Compensated Re-Allocation of Halibut Quota to Charter Sector in Alaska
On July 22nd, the US Senate voted to pass S. 906, Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, which included a rider with language that would allow the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and NMFS to create a funding mechanism for the recently adopted Recreational Quota Entity (RQE). (This has been the main bottleneck to move the program to free up more halibut for guided anglers). The Bill now goes to the House where they have until the end of the year to pass.

ACA and SEAGO have been working together for a long time to push forward this program, which is the first of its kind in the nation and can serve as a model for other fisheries around the country where IFQ programs have locked recreational fishing into a box of shrinking catch limits.

Richard Yamada and Forrest Braden are taking the lead to form the RQE Committee to work out the details.

Pandemic Relief for Alaska's Fisheries Slows to Crawl
Congress allocated $50 million to Alaska's fisheries for pandemic disaster relief, but so far no money has been released for direct grants to affected businesses, fishermen or agencies that do the work.

ACA submitted a set of recommendations as well as participated on a conference call about what needs to be in the spending plan to build resiliency in Alaska's charter sector. The State is still meeting with other sectors and a draft plan is not expected to be out for comment until late fall.
Senate Committee on Commerce holds hearing on Pandemic and Fisheries Management

The US Senate held a Committee Hearing listening to testimony from fishery managers about the affect of the pandemic response on fisheries and management. They outlined future needs of the nation's response in the proposals for a new round of CARES Act relief.

While the state of Alaska is conducting data collection for our fisheries, our federal agency, NOAA, has all but suspended at-sea monitoring and fisheries-independent surveys.

Alaska's Senator Dan Sullivan serves on this Senate Committee, and North Council member Cora Campbell gave testimony about Alaska's fisheries remotely from Seattle - you can watch the hearing here.
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