Commerce Department Allocates Millions of Dollars for Fishery Disasters

Image: U.S. Commerce Department.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has announced the allocation of over $42 million to address fishery disasters, including those in Alaska, California, Oregon and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Yurok Tribes fisheries from 2017 to 2023.

“With these allocations, it is our hope that these funds help the affected communities and tribes recover from these disasters,” Raimondo said in Jan. 29 statement.

The allocations include almost $1.6 million for the 2022 Alaska Yukon River salmon fisheries; $1.65 million for the 2018-19 California Red Sea Urchin fishery; $7 million for the 2018-20 Oregon Chinook salmon fisheries; $1.2 million for the 2017 and 2019 Muckleshoot Indian Tribe coho, chum and pink salmon fisheries, and $405,778 for the 2020 Yurok Tribe Chinook salmon fisheries.

“With climate change further stressing our fisheries and ecosystems, it is essential that we work together to mitigate the impacts of disasters, restore fisheries and help prevent future disasters,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said.

Congress provided fishery disaster assistance funding in the 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts. 

Activities that can be considered for funding include fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, job re-training and more. Some fishery-related businesses impacted by the disasters also may be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration.

Commerce Department officials said that in the coming months, NOAA Fisheries would work with the states and tribes receiving allocations to administer the disaster relief funds. Fishing communities and individuals affected by these disasters should work with their state and/or the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission as appropriate.

In related salmon recovery news, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., announced that the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle would receive $16.2 million from a program sought by Cantwell and included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The senator said that the funding would help advance research including salmon life-cycle models, gaining an understanding how salmon are adapting to climate change and studies to better understand the impact of tire-related chemical runoff, stormwater and other environmental pollutants on salmon survival.