Disasters declared for Kuskokwim, Upper Cook Inlet, Puget Sound salmon fisheries

Second disaster declarations for the Kuskokwim and Upper Cook Inlet regions.

by | April 22, 2024

Now eligible for federal disaster relief funds

SeafoodNews.com’s Peggy Parker on April 22 reported that Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced last week that three commercial fishery failures have occurred in Washington and Alaska due to a fishery resource disaster . They are:

– 2021 Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Puget Sound fall chum and coho salmon fisheries
– 2022 Kuskokwim River salmon fishery
– 2021 and 2022 Upper Cook Inlet East Side setnet salmon fishery

The determinations are in response to requests from the late Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

These three fisheries are now eligible for disaster assistance from NOAA and possibly from the Small Business Administration. The Department of Commerce has fishery disaster assistance funding available and soon will determine the appropriate allocation for these disasters.

The Secretary and NOAA Fisheries evaluate each fishery resource disaster request based on data submitted by the requesting official. They must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, i.e. there must be economic impacts and an unexpected large decrease in fish stock biomass or other change. These impacts result in significant loss of access to the fishery resource resulting from specific allowable causes due to the fishery resource disaster event.

This is the second declaration of disaster for the Kuskokwim River salmon fishery in recent years. In late March 2022 Dunleavy asked for a federal disaster determination for Kuskokwim River salmon and a year later, in mid-May 2023, a total of $1,269,586 was granted to the Norton Sound and Kuskokwim River salmon disaster requests.

Dunleavy asked for a disaster declaration in the Upper Cook Inlet East Side setnet salmon fishery of 2018 in March  2021. It was approved in January 2022 and $9,414,087 was provided to the fishery for compensation.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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