Relief Funds Approved for 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pink Salmon Fishery Disaster

Alaska’s congressional delegation says that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has approved $53.8 million to restore losses for Alaska fisheries hard hit by the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery disaster.

According to the delegation NOAA has approved and transferred those funds to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the agency tasked with distributing the relief payments to harvesters, processors and for salmon research in affected regions.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young said they were pleased that Alaskans who have been waiting for this economic relief will finally receive it. Areas impacted by the disaster included Prince William Sound, management areas for Kodiak, Chignik and Lower Cook Inlet, plus Yakutat, the South Alaska Peninsula and Southeast Alaska.

According to Randy Fisher, executive director of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will determine what programs they want this money to go to. “We’re just the tooth fairy,” he said. “ADF&G and the governor’s office figure out how they want that money distributed. Once that is decided, PSMFC will send out applications to those eligible and determine the deadline for returning those applications.”

No timeline has been announced yet for when such applications would even be going out. Alaska state Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, who has been working on getting those funds to impacted fish harvesters, said she was told that PSMFC would have their website for this grant active on July 1, but as of July 2 it had not been posted.