U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced on December 16th, 2022, the approval of multiple Alaska and Washington fishery disaster requests. This approval is based on data submitted by states and/or local tribes.
“America’s fisheries are a critical part of our national economy and directly impact our local communities when disasters occur,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These determinations are a way to assist those fishing communities with financial relief to mitigate impacts, restore fisheries and help prevent future disasters.”
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act (IFA) (learn more here), the following fisheries meet the criteria for a fishery disaster determination:
- 2022/2023 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab fisheries.
- 2021/2022 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab fisheries.
- 2021 Alaska Kuskokwim River Salmon, Norton Sound Chum and Coho Salmon fisheries.
- 2021 Chignik Salmon fishery.
- 2020 and 2021 Alaska Norton Sound Red King Crab fisheries.
- 2020 Washington Ocean Salmon fisheries.
- 2020 Copper River/Prince William Sound Coho and Pink Salmon fisheries.
- 2019 Washington Columbia River, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound Salmon fisheries.
Fisheries are eligible for disaster relief through NOAA. Congress must approve and designate these funds. The 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill has provisions for $300 million to assist crabbers and fishers as well as support for habitat restoration and research. The bill also calls for a research task force to focus on salmon returns in western and interior Alaska, areas that have experienced extreme declines in salmon returns in recent years. The congressional delegations of Alaska and Washington spearheaded the efforts for getting funding into the bill.
“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,” U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) 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.”