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Disaster Declarations for Alaska Fisheries

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, [on January 21, 2022] welcomed determinations from the Department of Commerce that fishery disasters have occurred in numerous Alaska fisheries, allowing them to receive critical relief funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The funding can be distributed to fishermen and their crews, seafood processors, and research initiatives in the impacted regions.

“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. Their strength and vibrancy is one of my top priorities, and the reason I have been pushing the administration to make disaster declarations to help overcome a number of remarkably challenging seasons,” Senator Murkowski said. “These determinations, and the funding they will allow, are a welcome relief for all who have been impacted. I thank the Department of Commerce and NOAA for supporting Alaskans, and Secretary Raimondo for her commitment to work with us to create a more efficient process moving forward.”

“Our state has suffered extraordinary economic hardship over the last few years with the impacts of the pandemic layered on top of an unprecedented number of fishery disasters,” Senator Sullivan said. “Our great fisheries resources provide a pillar within Alaska’s economy and culture. Now that a fishery disaster has been declared, we can work to secure appropriations to fund these fishery disaster declarations. I want to thank Secretary Raimondo, who I recently hosted in a meeting with several members of United Fishermen of Alaska, for working so closely with the Alaska Congressional Delegation on these important determinations that will allow for much needed fishery disaster relief to reach Alaskans who are reliant on this resource.”

“Our state’s fisheries are a central part of our economy and way of life, particularly for Alaska Natives who have harvested fish from our waters for millennia. The past couple of years have been tough for Alaska’s fisheries, causing immense pain for our hardworking fishing communities,” said Congressman Young. “Today’s news from the Department of Commerce is a bright spot for our fishermen, processors, and others who rely on a strong and vibrant seafood sector. I want to thank Secretary Raimondo for declaring a fisheries disaster and working with the Alaska Delegation to invest this critical relief in our state. In Congress, I will continue standing up for commercial, subsistence, and recreational fishing across Alaska.”

Secretary Raimondo issued determinations that fisheries disasters occurred in:

  • 2018 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net
  • 2018 Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon
  • 2019 Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab
  • 2020 Prince William Sound salmon fisheries
  • 2020 Copper River Chinook, sockeye, and chum salmon fisheries
  • 2020 Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab
  • 2020 Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska
  • 2020 Alaska Norton Sound salmon
  • 2020 Yukon River salmon
  • 2020 Chignik salmon
  • 2020 Kuskokwim River salmon
  • 2020 Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries
  • 2020 Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries
  • 2021 Yukon River salmon fishery

Background:

  • In April 2021, the Alaska Delegation sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in support of the State of Alaska’s 2020 fisheries disaster declarations.
  • In September 2021, the Alaska Delegation sent a letter to Secretary Raimondo in support of Governor Dunleavy’s 2020 and 2021 fisheries disaster declarations.

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