Global conservation work is needed to protect our coastal communities

For Alaskans, supporting international conservation is key to securing our environment and economy.

Coastal communities in Alaska and around the world depend on clean waters and sustainable fishing practices to survive. But over time, coastal degradation has put our communities in harm’s way, decreasing fish populations, harming Arctic coastlines and endangering our supply of clean water. While Alaska’s conservation work helps protect our communities, oceans are our shared resource, international conservation work is equally necessary to protect our coastal communities here in our home state.

Abroad, criminal groups are often behind the abuse of our globalnatural resources. Illegal fishing operations and irresponsible land management can cause irreparable harm, decimating fishing populations, permanently poisoning lands and waters, and putting coastal communities at risk of natural disasters.

By supporting programs to control this activity abroad, the U.S. government, including our very own Sen. Lisa Murkowski, can protect Alaska’s own coastlines and sustain the natural resources we depend on to survive and thrive.

Our state’s indigenous communities have long maintained strong relationships with these lands and waters, dependent upon their provisions for shelter, food, and occupation for generations. But for all Alaskans, supporting international conservation efforts is a key part of securing our environment and economy, and it must be a priority.

David G. Katzeek,

Juneau

• Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.