Fishery disasters in AK and WA approved by Commerce Secretary

Getting the relief funds in hand can take years, pending appropriations by Congress.

by | December 20, 2022

Filed Under Environment

Includes multi-years in several crab, salmon fisheries

Credit: Jeff Koterba

December 16, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today her determination that fishery disasters occurred in multiple Alaska and Washington fisheries over the last several years, including the Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab fisheries. The Secretary, working with NOAA Fisheries, evaluates fishery disaster requests based on data submitted by a state and/or tribe. 

“America’s fisheries are a critical part of our national economy and directly impact our local communities when disasters occur,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These determinations are a way to assist those fishing communities with financial relief to mitigate impacts, restore fisheries and help prevent future disasters.” 

The Secretary found that the following fisheries met the requirements for a fishery disaster determination:

  • 2022/2023 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab fisheries.
  • 2021/2022 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab fisheries.
  • 2021 Alaska Kuskokwim River Salmon, Norton Sound Chum and Coho Salmon fisheries.
  • 2021 Chignik Salmon fishery.
  • 2020 and 2021 Alaska Norton Sound Red King Crab fisheries.
  • 2020 Washington Ocean Salmon fisheries.
  • 2020 Copper River/Prince William Sound Coho and Pink Salmon fisheries.
  • 2019 Washington Columbia River, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound Salmon fisheries.

A declared fishery disaster must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and/or the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. For example, there must be a commercial fishery failure and significant declines in fishery access or available catch resulting from specific allowable causes such as natural causes beyond the control of fishery managers to mitigate. 

Positive determinations make these fisheries eligible for disaster assistance from NOAA, pending the availability of Congressionally appropriated funds. They may also qualify for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration. See a summary of fishery disaster determinations, including this announcement, and learn more about fishery disaster assistance.

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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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