$12M For Alaska, Washington Fisheries Disasters Allocated by Commerce Dept.

$12M For Alaska, Washington Fisheries Disasters Allocated by Commerce Dept.
Image: U.S. Commerce Department.

U.S. Commerce Department officials have announced the allocation of $12.2 million to address fishery resource disasters in Alaska and Washington State through 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts.

The allocations for Alaska’s 2022 Kuskokwim River salmon fishery2021 and 2022 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Setnet salmon fishery and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s 2021 Puget Sound fall chum and coho salmon fisheries can be used to fund commercial, recreational, tribal fishing communities and subsistence users, as well as other associated industries affected by the disaster.

“This funding will assist with the recovery of salmon fisheries in communities across Alaska and Puget Sound by bolstering fisheries restoration efforts, minimizing the risk of future disasters and helping build back stronger,” Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said in announcing the funds on June 21.

NOAA Fisheries said that it used commercial, processor and charter fishery revenue loss information to allocate funding across the eligible fishery resource disasters. Additionally, the agency considered the traditional, cultural and ceremonial uses of fisheries resources, including subsistence, recognizing that such uses extend beyond what can be quantified solely through commercial revenue loss.

“We are optimistic that these disaster funds will make a beneficial impact on the ongoing recovery of the affected tribes and fisheries,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said.

In the coming months, NOAA Fisheries expects to work with the State of Alaska and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe to administer the disaster relief funds. Activities considered for funding include restoration and prevention efforts, including fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration initiatives, state-run vessel and permit buyback programs, and job retraining initiatives.

Fishing communities and individuals impacted by these disasters can collaborate with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and/or the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the State of Alaska, as appropriate. Those entities are responsible for formulating spend plans for the allocated funds.

Additionally, certain fishery-related businesses affected by the disasters might also qualify for assistance from the Small Business Administration.