Alaska Delegation Encourages Department of Homeland Security to Help Keep Alaska Seafood Industry Running

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young issued the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the department is making available 22,000 temporary, non-agriculture worker visas through the H-2B visa program:

“The H-2B visa program is crucial to on-shore fish processors in Alaska and to our national seafood supply. The COVID-19 pandemic has created incredible hardships for American businesses across the nation, and Alaska’s seafood industry was not immune to that strain. It is important for the industry to have the workers it needs as it heads into the critical summer seafood season. These temporary, non-immigrant visas are fundamental to filling vacant jobs left unfilled by American labor, enabling seafood industries to hire seasonal workers and to continue operations. Local seafood businesses continue to tell us they need H-2B workers to harvest and process their respective seafood products despite regular and robust recruitment efforts here in the United States. We appreciate the administration’s announcement, which reaffirms its support of American businesses, but we are running out of time in Alaska. Processors must be ready and able to keep pace with the salmon run and their independent fishermen to provide our nation’s supply of sustainable, wild-caught Alaska salmon. Bristol Bay, for example, is famous for its abundant, short fishing season in June and July. With the summer fishing season nearly upon us we urge the DHS to finalize and issue these visas as soon as possible. Every passing day counts.”

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries