Doug Vincent-Lang, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, speaks on Wednesday during a panel discussion of ocean issues at the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage. Vincent-Lang said his department is preparing for potential commercial fisheries in Arctic waters in the future. From left are Rachel Kallander, founder of the symposium; David Balton, executive director of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee; VIncent-Lang; Manuel Carmona Yebra, a European Union counselor for environmental and ocean policies; Sheyna Wisdom, director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System; Zachary Penney, senior U.S. Commerce Department advisor for oceans and atmosphere; and Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard's Alaska district. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska officials prepare for possible commercial fishing expansion into Arctic waters

BY: - March 29, 2023

Bans on commercial fishing in U.S. and international Arctic waters have been lauded as admirable preemptive actions that protect vulnerable resources before they are damaged by exploitation. But now the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is preparing for a time when the 14-year-old moratorium on commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters is lifted. The […]

Spawning sockeye salmon returning from Bristol Bay swim in 2013 in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve's Tazimina Lake, part of the Bristol Bay watershed. (Photo by D. Young/National Park Service)

Fishery expert says he is optimistic about long-term prospects for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon

BY: - March 29, 2023

The long-term outlook is bright for Bristol Bay sockeye runs, source of a thriving commercial fishery that has enjoyed record-breaking returns and harvests in recent years, a salmon expert told a conference last week. Part of the credit goes to the warming climate in that southeast Bering Sea region, Daniel Schindler, a professor at the […]

Alaska Legislature votes to oppose National Park Service hunting rule that forbids bear baiting

BY: - March 28, 2023

The Alaska Legislature has voted to oppose a new National Park Service rule that could limit some forms of hunting in federal parks and preserves.  The Alaska Senate approved House Joint Resolution 10 in an 18-2 vote on Monday, an act that finalizes the nonbinding letter of opposition. The Alaska House previously voted 31-5 to […]

Smokestack emissions are seen along the Fairbanks skyline on March 1. At left is the coal-fired heat and power plant on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Legislative resolution takes aim at EPA wood-stove certification in Fairbanks

BY: - March 28, 2023

A resolution pending in the Alaska Legislature urges both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to do more to address wintertime air pollution in Fairbanks. House Joint Resolution 11 calls on the federal agency to improve a wood-stove certification program that has been deemed ineffective. It also calls on the […]

Fast-track budget bill, intended to help food-stamp program, speeds through Alaska Legislature

BY: - March 27, 2023

The Alaska Legislature has passed a fast-track budget bill intended to immediately address problems with the state’s food-aid program for poor Alaskans and other immediate concerns. House Bill 79, proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is intended to address the food-aid problem. It transfers $3.1 million from the state’s Medicaid program to the Division of Public […]

After seven years, Alaska Legislature considers no longer monitoring veterinarians’ opioid prescriptions

BY: - March 23, 2023

Seven years ago, at the urging of then-Gov. Bill Walker, the Alaska Legislature passed a sweeping bill intended to limit the abuse of prescription opioid drugs.  Now, lawmakers are preparing to repeal a portion of that bill at the request of state veterinarians who say the bill went too far.  The veterinarians are asking to […]

Kuspuks of varying colors displayed at a tribal consultation meeting in Anchorage on Sept. 21 represent Indigenous victims of violence. From left, the colors are red for missing and murdered indigenous women, orange for victims of boarind schools, the baby kuspuk for children who will never be born, purple for victims of domestic violence, turquoise for victims of sexual assault, multicolor for LGBTQ victims and black for men who are victims. The kuspuks were arrayed at the Justice Department's annual tribal consultation conference required under the Violence Against Woman Act. The 2022 conference is being held in Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Budget items and policy changes recommended to help protect Indigenous women and girls

BY: - March 23, 2023

At a legislative hearing that reviewed grim statistics about the dangers facing Alaska Native women and girls, Indigenous activists presented recommendations for better state responses. Those dangers can be addressed through the state budget and through other practical actions, activists said Wednesday in testimony to the House Tribal Affairs Special Committee. Before detailing their policy […]

From left to right, House Majority Leader Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River; Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla; and Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla; listen to House Clerk Crys Jones during a break in the session of the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes more funding to fix food-stamp crisis, prevent budget trouble

BY: - March 22, 2023

The Alaska House of Representatives voted 38-1 on Wednesday to approve a fast-moving budget bill that spends as much as $365 million to cover a shortfall in state revenue caused by lower-than-expected oil prices. The bill also includes $6.8 million to immediately address a crisis in the state’s food-stamp program. Staffing shortages have created huge […]

The Alaska House Education Committee is seen on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

K-12 funding increase takes first step forward in Alaska House

BY: - March 22, 2023

The Alaska House Education Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday morning to raise the amount Alaska pays K-12 schools per student, a figure known as the base student allocation.  The decision followed five hours of public testimony — almost entirely in favor of the idea — Tuesday night in the Capitol. Advocates for public schools say an […]

Names of homicide victims are engraved on pillars seen Monday at the Alaska Victims of VIolent Crime Memorial in downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska homicide statistics detailed in new report show gender and ethnic disparities

BY: - March 21, 2023

Twice as many males as females were homicide victims in Alaska from 2011 to 2020, , according to a report released Monday by state health officials. Homicides increased over the period, from a low of 34 in 2011 to a high of 78 in 2019, according to the report, released by the Alaska Division of […]

Very realistic rendering of a soccer ball with the flag of Alaska in the net.(3D illustration series) (Getty Images)

Alaska state school board supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports

BY: - March 17, 2023

On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. The resolution supported regulations that would prohibit students whose sex at birth wasn’t female from participating in girls’ sports. It also stated that regulation should offer a sports division for students who “identify […]

Wildfire experts forecast higher-than-normal fire danger in Southwest Alaska

BY: - March 17, 2023

Southwest Alaska has a higher-than-normal risk of wildfires this spring, according to a preseason fire forecast published by state and federal experts. The annual early-season forecast shows normal fire danger across most of the state, except in Southwest Alaska, where less snow has fallen than normal. Winter snowfall totals are strongly correlated with fire danger […]