Federal Disaster Relief Funds Granted for Alaska Fisheries

Commercial fishermen in Alaska affected by the 2012 salmon fisheries
disaster for Yukon Chinook, Kuskokwim Chinook and Cook Inlet salmon will share in
$7.8 million in grants announced this week by NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region.
The award includes direct payments to commercial fishermen, and
breaks out as $3.2 million for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and $4.6 million for the
Cook Inlet region.
Jim Balsiger, Alaska’s regional administrator for the agency,
said that their first priority has been to get those dollars directly into the hands
of fishermen impacted by those fisheries failures. “Approval of the grant application
for direct assistance means that will happen very soon,” he said. Applications to
impacted fishermen are going out in the mail.
The estimated number of permit holders likely to participate
include 631 harvesters for the Yukon River, 489 harvesters for the Kuskokwim River,
443 East Side Cook Inlet set netters, and 96 harvesters in the northern district
of Cook Inlet. The highest direct payments, an estimated $4,952, are expected to
go to Yukon River harvesters.
Funds are being distributed through the Pacific States Marine
Fisheries Commission in Portland, Oregon, one of three interstate commissions established
by Congress back in 1947 to manage and conserve marine resources in state and federal

For the remaining funds, some $13 million, the Pacific states
Marine Fisheries Commission is developing a second grant proposal based on spend
plans provided to National Marine Fisheries service by representative groups identified
by the state of Alaska and the Alaska congressional delegation. The second grant
is anticipated to be awarded in coming months.