Seven Alaska fisheries, from the Yukon River to Southcentral to Southeast Alaska, have been approved by Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo for disaster relief.
The relief had been requested by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for multiple fishery disasters that impacted Alaska’s seafood industry from 2018 through 2021.
The fisheries include the Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net for 2018, Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries for 2020; Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon fisheries for 2018; Prince William Sound salmon fisheries for 2020; Copper River Chinook, sockeye and chum salmon fisheries for 2020; Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab for 2019-2020; Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska for 2020; and 2020 salmon fisheries for Norton Sound Yukon River, Chignik, Kuskokwim River and Southeast Alaska.
“Helping communities to bounce back from the impacts of fishery disasters is essential, and we are working to ensure there is relief coming for impacted Alaskans,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Disasters like these, which impact multiple fisheries across Alaska, illustrate how vital sustainable fisheries are to our economy at not only the local level, but for the economic health of our nation’s blue economy.”
Alaska’s congressional delegation heralded the announcement of disaster relief approval.
“Alaska’s fisheries are economic and subsistence lifelines for individuals and communities across our state, and they also produce more than $15 billion in national value each year,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, citing the announcement as welcome relief to all those impacted.
“Now that a fishery disaster has been declared, we can work to secure appropriations to fund these fishery disaster declarations,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, cited the announcement as “a bright spot for our fishermen, processors and others who rely on a strong and vibrant seafood sector.”
Some fishery-related businesses impacted by these disasters may also be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration.
Details on the determinations of allocation of funds for the disasters and how to apply were to be announced at a later date, according to the Commerce Department.