AK - US Commerce Department allocates $35 million for Alaska fisheries disasters
Fishermen affected by the 2018 Pacific cod and Chignik sockeye disasters will soon have access to about $35 million in relief funding.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross allocated about $65 million to fisheries disaster relief, about $35 million of which is for Alaska, according to a Feb. 27 announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Within Alaska, about $24.4 million will go to the Pacific cod fishery disaster and about $10.3 million to the Chignik sockeye fishery. The funding was appropriated when Congress passed the 2019 Consolidated and Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Fisheries disasters can be declared under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Conservation Act when natural disasters or management actions significantly negatively impact stakeholders’ ability to participate in a fishery.
In the case of the Pacific cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska, scientists are linking the decline in stock abundance to environmental causes; in Chignik, the salmon decline seemed to be linked to poor environmental conditions for sockeye that summer.
Both disaster requests had already been granted, but the amount of funding that the fisheries would have allocated to them was yet to be determined. The National Marine Fisheries Service determines how much funding to allocate to fisheries based on commercial revenue loss information.