Alaska fisheries ruled eligible for disaster declaration funding

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 1:28 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that disasters took place in 14 fisheries across Alaska over the last four years, and will be eligible for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disaster declaration funding previously requested by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“Helping communities to bounce back from the impacts of fishery disasters is essential, and we are working to ensure there is relief coming for impacted Alaskans,” Secretary Raimondo said. “Disasters like these, which impact multiple fisheries across Alaska, illustrate how vital sustainable fisheries are to our economy at not only the local level, but for the economic health of our nation’s blue economy.”

Alaska’s Congressional delegation of Congressman Don Young and Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan issued a letter to Raimondo in April 2021 supporting Alaska’s 2020 disaster declaration for fisheries. Later in Sept. 2021, Alaska’s delegation then issued another letter supporting disaster declarations for additional fisheries.

“Our state’s fisheries are a central part of our economy and way of life, particularly for Alaska Natives who have harvested fish from our waters for millennia. The past couple of years have been tough for Alaska’s fisheries, causing immense pain for our hardworking fishing communities,” Congressman Young said.

After Raimondo issued the determination on Friday, all 14 fisheries become eligible for assistance from NOAA. The disaster funding can be disbursed to fishermen, fishing crews, research initiatives and seafood processors who have been affected. Some businesses impacted by fishery disasters may qualify for Small Business Administration assistance as well.

“Alaska’s fisheries are economic and subsistence lifelines for individuals and communities across our state, and they also produce more than $15 billion in national value each year. Their strength and vibrancy is one of my top priorities, and the reason I have been pushing the administration to make disaster declarations to help overcome a number of remarkably challenging seasons,” Senator Murkowski said.

The fisheries where Secretary Raimondo determined that disasters had occurred were:

  • Upper Cook Inlet East side set net 2018
  • Copper River chinook and sockeye salmon 2018
  • Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab 2019
  • Prince William Sound salmon 2020
  • Copper River chinook, sockeye and chum salmon 2020
  • Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab 2020
  • Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska 2020
  • Norton Sound salmon 2020
  • Yukon River salmon 2020
  • Chignik salmon 2020
  • Kuskokwim River salmon 2020
  • Southeast Alaska salmon 2020
  • Upper Cook Inlet salmon 2020
  • Yukon River salmon 2021

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