“I committed to be in Kodiak when I was here the last time for the fisheries debate,” Treadwell told the Mirror on the sidelines of the Crab Festival survival suit race Saturday.
Treadwell is running against fellow Republicans Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller for a chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. Treadwell committed to a Kodiak fisheries debate earlier this election season, a date neither Sullivan nor Miller agreed to.
Treadwell seems to savor his status as an outsider in the contest.
“I’ll say this and it’s really the first time I’ve said it to a reporter: It’s pretty clear that Washington, D.C., has picked their candidates. It’s pretty clear that the big outside money is going to Begich and Sullivan. I don’t think Alaskans got the memo,” he said.
He met with fishing interest groups around town during the big festival as well.
“We talked about problems that some of the people are having with the quota programs. We talked about the possibility of electronic monitoring, which could be a boon to help reduce costs in the fishery and make us more competitive,” he added.
Treadwell also discussed with Kodiakans’ concerns about the Environmental Protection Act’s water quality standards, which could affect the seafood processors in town.
“I came essentially to listen. I didn’t get unanimity on any of these issues,” he said.
He sees the revision of the Magnuson-Stevens Act helping to reduce costs when it comes to quota monitoring by using cameras on boats instead of human monitors.
“Something like that could end up saving costs if it can be done right,” he said.
Treadwell also talked about difficulties the U.S. is having in getting good bycatch data out of its neighbor to the west.
“We’re seeing more crab sold in the United States, in some cases than is agreed to be caught,” Treadwell said.
“We also have to keep up some form of good relations with the Russians and the Canadians who we share this resource with, and we’re not getting good data out of the Russian side on bycatch. We have to work on several fronts,” he added.
Treadwell advocates cooperation with Russia while at the same time demanding transparency from them, especially when it comes to their bycatch reporting and quotas. This includes getting the State Department into the act and fostering better relationships with Moscow.
“We’ve heard complaints that we’ll get some sort of agreement on what ought to be caught and then more will show up in the U.S. marketplace. Those are among the kinds of issues that a U.S. Senator can help -- pushing the State Department to stand up for our fish,” Treadwell said.
Treadwell thinks the state and nation should utilize technology and science to better manage its abundance of resources.
“First and foremost we always have to try to manage for abundance. And to manage for abundance means you need good science and you need to continue to improve technology,” he said.
Contact Peter J. Mladineo at firstname.lastname@example.org.