U.S. Sen. Mark Begich met with Secretary of Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker today in his Senate office, where he pressed her on the importance of sound fisheries management -- noting that 55 percent of America's domestically caught seafood is harvested in Alaska- as well as Arctic development.
As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard and a member of the Commerce Committee, Begich will play a key role in Pritzker's nomination hearing.
"When it comes to Alaska, we like to call the Secretary of Commerce the Secretary of Fish. With a majority of our country's domestic seafood being harvested in Alaska, I hope that Penny is looking forward to brushing up on her fisheries knowledge," said Begich. "I feel confident that if confirmed she will make it a priority to visit Alaska in the near future and learn more about Arctic development."
Begich has been a key voice on fisheries and oceans issues, using his chairmanship of the oceans subcommittee to advocate for enhanced resources for robust Arctic science research, better seafood labeling, anti-Frankenfish measures, and to promote Arctic deepwater port development, among other issues. Begich will be holding hearings soon on the upcoming Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization to address ongoing management and conservation of the nation's fisheries.
Other topics of Begich and Pritzker's meeting included the key role Alaska will play in the White House's new Arctic strategy and the critical responsibility of the Commerce Department in streamlining oil and gas permitting through its relationship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As a member and co-founder of the Senate Tourism Caucus, Begich also discussed with Pritzker the importance of expanding tourism jobs as well as the implementation of the Travel Promotion Act.