Commerce Dept. Allocates $17.4M For West Coast Fisheries Disasters

Six tribal entities have been awarded $17.4 million by the U.S. Department of Commerce for salmon fisheries that from 2014 to 2019 have been determined to be disasters.

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo made the announcement in early September. She said it is her hope that the disaster declaration will help affected tribes recover and increase their ability to combat such challenges in the future.

In order to allocate funds across the eligible disasters, NOAA Fisheries used data on commercial revenue loss. The agency also took into consideration traditional uses that cannot be accounted for in revenue losses alone, such as cultural and subsistence uses.

The funds went to the:

  • 2019 Fraser River & Skagit River Salmon Fisheries (the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip, Upper Skagit Tribes).
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 Fraser River and Nooksack River Terminal Area Sockeye, Chinook, Chum, Coho and Pink Salmon Fishery (Lummi Nation).
  • 2019 Puget Sound Fall Chum Salmon Fishery (Squaxin Island Tribe).
  • 2014 and 2019 Fraser River Sockeye and Puget Sound Chum, and Coho Salmon Fishery (Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe).
  • 2019 Klamath River Fall Chinook Salmon Fishery (Yurok Tribe).

The funds aim to improve the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the impacted fisheries. They may be used to assist fisheries participants, including commercial fishermen, charter businesses, shoreside infrastructure providers and subsistence users.

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

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