Common property

Almost four decades ago, a Juneau salmon seiner by the name of Wayne Alex filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the state of Alaska from taxing commercial fishermen to finance hatcheries. The tax, which the Alaska Legislature obliging called an “assessment” in an effort to avoid an Alaska Constitutional prohibition on dedicated taxes, was intended to benefit private, non-profit aquaculture corporations controlled by commercial fishermen. As the scheme was designed, the hatchery corporations, or “associations” as they were officially called, would run a system of hatcheries to fill the ocean off the 49th state with a bounty of “common property” salmon to benefit Alaskans of all sorts – commercial fishermen, personal-use fishermen, sport fishermen, even subsistence fishermen. Though Alex sued over the tax, it wasn’t his real concern. His fear was that the hatcheries would one day come to replace fishermen like himself. Jump ahead now 39 years and turn your attention north from Juneau for 550 miles to the city of Seward at the head of Resurrection Bay. >click to read< 16:01

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