Alaska fisheries that unintentionally reel in specific types of fish would have to start paying taxes on that bycatch, under a bill introduced Wednesday.

House Bill 358, sponsored by Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, would establish a fisheries bycatch tax. Under the rule, a person engaged in a fisheries business would have to pay a one percent tax on the value of chinook salmon and halibut bycatch the person caught with trawl or longline gear in Alaska during the year.

Neuman said the main purpose of the bill is to generate conversation on the issue of bycatch.

“This is to bring a little bit more attention to the issue,” he said. “It's been talked about by Alaskans for years, and how it affects our fisheries. … My whole goal on this is to help reduce bycatch.”

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