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Lisa M.
Republican AK

About Sen. Lisa
  • Remembering Richard E. Gutting

    by Senator Lisa Murkowski

    Posted on 2014-01-09

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    MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize a man who, although not a constituent, was very important to my State. Richard E. Gutting Jr., who died on Christmas Eve, spent over 40 years working in and for the commercial seafood industry. As many of my colleagues are aware, the seafood harvesting and processing industry is the largest private sector employer in Alaska. The seafood industry is crucial to the economic health of Alaska and employs more than 63,000 workers in my State, and overall Alaska's fisheries support over 165,000 American jobs.

    The successful development and growth of the modern U.S. seafood industry is the result of the hard work of many individuals, and Dick played an important role in many key areas. He was recognized as the foremost U.S. expert on seafood safety and trade policies, and he continued to dedicate his time and energy to the seafood industry right until the weeks before he passed, publishing a daily update on seafood trade developments.

    Dick's long career in both government and the private sector coincided with a period of rapid development and expansion of my State's seafood industry. In the 1960s we were focused mostly on salmon and watched as foreign fleets took a wide variety of marine resources from the waters off our shores. The passage of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act--now the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act--on which Dick provided advice and counsel, was a crucial step in allowing U.S. citizens to utilize the fisheries resources just off our shores. His work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, at the National Fisheries Institute, NFI, and in private law practice helped not just Alaskans but the seafood industry throughout the country.

    During his long tenure at NFI, Dick frequently testified before Congress on issues of great importance to the Nation's commercial seafood industry. His legal and policy insights, combined with his calm demeanor, made him a valued advisor to ocean policy leaders such as Senator Ted Stevens, Congressman Don Young, and my father, Senator Frank Murkowski, as they crafted legislation necessary to develop U.S. fisheries while also promoting the consumption of seafood. He also helped mentor an entire generation of both governmental and private sector policy leaders in the commercial seafood industry. Many of those people are now in significant positions in government, academia and the private sector, and they continue to benefit from what they learned from Dick.

    Above all, Dick loved seafood, and he loved to share his passion for promoting seafood throughout the country and the world. That is something that as an Alaskan I understand very well, and I appreciate his contributions to my State and to the country.

    Although Dick is no longer with us, we are left with his many contributions to the responsible growth of the domestic seafood industry. Our system of fishery management and our robust global trade in seafood products have in many ways been shaped by Dick's four decades of work. These professional achievements, combined with the love and admiration of family and friends, form a legacy that anyone would be proud to leave behind. He will be missed by many Alaskans and by the entire seafood industry. ____________________

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