Funding Sought for Commercial Fishery Failures

Alaska’s congressional delegation has signed onto a letter
urging Congress to include $150 million in fishery disaster relief funds in any
final funding package for fiscal 2014. The letter, signed by a total of 22
members of Congress, notes five fishery failures declared by the Secretary of
Commerce still in need of funds. These include the disaster declared Sept. 12,
2012, for Alaska king salmon fisheries in the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and
Cook Inlet.
Also cited were the Mississippi oyster and blue crab
disaster, declared Sept. 12, 2012; the Northeast multispecies groundfish
fishery disaster in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut and New York, declared Sept. 13, 2012; Superstorm Sandy fisheries
impacts, for New Jersey and New York, declared Nov. 16, 2012; and Florida oysters,
due to excessive drought conditions on that state’s west coast, Aug. 12, 2013.
The signers urged including the $150 million in the Senate
version of the fiscal year 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
appropriations bill.

The federal disaster funds could be used to provide
fishermen vital help, including emergency financial assistance, operational
costs, economic development programs, and science initiatives to manage the
fishery in a timely way that gives confidence to all stakeholders, they said.