Sullivan, Murkowski & Young Welcome Major Tariff Relief for Alaska Fishermen

U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska) today thanked President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for authorizing approximately $530 million for fishermen and the U.S. seafood industry impacted by retaliatory tariffs from foreign governments, including fishermen in Alaska.

“Working alongside Alaska fishermen across our state, I have been relentlessly pushing the administration to ensure that our fishermen are provided relief from retaliatory tariffs imposed by foreign governments who do not play by international trade rules,” said Senator Sullivan. “I have voiced the concerns of Alaska fishermen in numerous conversations with officials at the highest levels of the administration, including the President, Vice President, Assistant to the President Peter Navarro, Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, among others. I am very appreciative that the White House and the Department of Agriculture listened to the fishermen in Alaska and across the country, and are offering substantial, historic financial assistance to these hard-working individuals. As I often say, Alaska is the superpower of seafood for our nation, and our fishermen are America’s ultimate small businesses. This is because of the men and women who work long hours, employing tens of thousands of Alaskans, and contributing billions of dollars to our economy. I will continue to do all I can do to make sure that this vital industry can continue to provide jobs and support to our communities while providing the best wild seafood on the planet.”

“Alaska’s seafood industry is facing numerous challenges because of the ongoing trade dispute and now the COVID-19 pandemic. While I’m proud of the funding we secured in the CARES Act to provide direct assistance to fishermen, the reality is fishermen have been subject to retaliatory Chinese tariffs for over two years and have been hit hard,” said Senator Murkowski. “The administration acted to help farmers mitigate impacts from Chinese tariffs. Fishermen deserve the same. I’m pleased the administration has recognized the importance of a healthy seafood industry to Alaska’s economy and is providing relief because of China’s retaliatory actions. I am especially grateful to my colleague, Senator Sullivan, for his relentless efforts to educate the administration. The Alaska Delegation is committed to helping this vital industry weather the impacts of retaliatory tariffs.”

“Alaska's seafood industry is central to our economy and way of life,” said Congressman Young. “Our fishermen and processors depend on the ocean to keep food on their families' tables, and they deserve a fair and open global marketplace to do business. Unfortunately, not every country has played by the rules, and China's retaliatory tariffs have impacted our country's fishing sector. Our dedicated fishermen and processors are already trying to keep their businesses afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and these retaliatory tariffs only make matters worse. I am very pleased to see the USDA make relief funding available to Alaska's fishermen through the Seafood Trade Relief Program. This funding is welcome news for the hard-working mariners who bring Alaskan salmon, halibut, and countless other seafood to market. I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Purdue for recognizing the Alaska seafood industry's urgent need in these uniquely difficult times. We must do more to ensure our delicious seafood can continue being enjoyed across the country. In Congress, I will continue fighting so that our fishermen and processors can succeed well into the future.” 

The funding will be provided through the Seafood Trade Relief Program and funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). The relief will support the following types of seafood:

·       Atka mackerel

·       Crab, Dungeness, King, Snow, Southern Tanner

·       Flounder

·       Geoduck

·       Goosefish

·       Herrings

·       Lobster

·       Pacific Cod

·       Pacific Ocean Perch

·       Pollock

·       Sablefish

·       Salmon

·       Sole

·       Squid

·       Tuna

·       Turbot

Fishermen can sign up for relief from September 14 until December 14, 2020. Fishermen are encouraged to apply through their local USDA Service Center. To find a service center, visit www.farmers.gov/service-locator. The relief application can be found at www.farmers.gov/Seafood

USDA also has provided a document with answers to frequently asked questions about the new program:


 Background: The Alaska Congressional Delegation has been working to address multiple sources of stress on Alaska’s fishing industry, such as urging the U.S. Trade Representative for a national trade policy that supports seafood producers and coastal communities, pushing the USDA to stabilize the seafood sector through the purchase of surplus seafood, and securing $300 million in the CARES Act to make direct assistance available to subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants, fishery-related businesses, and fishery-dependent communities that have been negatively affected by the market and other impacts of COVID-19.

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries