Alaska Delegation Announces Approval of $12.9M for Fishery Disaster Relief

Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young today announced that the second round of payments totaling $12.9 million for Alaskans seeking relief for federally-recognized fishery disasters has been approved by NOAA and will be available for Alaskans impacted by the low salmon runs in 2012.

The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, developed a “spend plan” for use of the funds to support research to better understand and counter the causes of low King runs, as well as enable outreach and communication efforts to improve in-river management in both regions. A significant portion will also be used to help address economic impacts to recreational fishing interests on the Kenai. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will administer the distribution of the funds for all categories.

Salmon Disaster Research: $7.4 million will be distributed for research efforts in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and Kenai/Cook Inlet regions to determine the causes of the Chinook failures, build capacity and strengthen the communications network, and develop informed policies ($6.4 million for the YK Delta region; $1.1 million for the Kenai/Cook Inlet region).

Direct Payments to Recreational Fishing Sector: $4.5 million will be distributed to sport fishing businesses that meet the threshold for damages due to income lost because of the low Chinook runs.

Direct Payments to Commercial Buying Stations in Cook Inlet: $700,000 to commercial salmon buyers impacted by the fisheries disaster.