ADFG Announces Open Comment Period and Listening Sessions for Federal Fishery Disaster Spend Plans
Earlier this week, federal disaster relief aid was awarded to several struggling West Coast and Alaska fisheries. Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced an open comment period for the public to weigh in on how the funding was distributed.
Here’s the ADFG press release:
May 24, 2023 (Juneau) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Department) is developing spend plans for six recently funded fishery disasters. The State supports an open and transparent process for distributing disaster relief and will work with affected stakeholders and NOAA Fisheries to identify funding priorities and develop spend plans for each fishery disaster. Given the number of affected fisheries, the Department has opened an initial public comment period that will be open through June 30, 2023. The Department will host two virtual listening sessions on June 14 and 15, 2023, to receive initial input on funding priorities from affected fishery participants. The Department is requesting public comment for the following fishery disasters spend plans:
- 2020 Prince William Sound (PWS) pink and coho salmon fisheries
- 2020 and 2021 Norton Sound red king crab fisheries
- 2021/22 Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries
- 2022/23 Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries
- 2021 Chignik salmon fishery
- 2021 Kuskokwim River and Norton Sound salmon fisheries
The Department will draft initial spend plans for these disasters based on input received during the listening sessions and through comments emailed to: email@example.com. Comments must be sent by June 30, 2023, to be considered in the initial draft of the spend plan.
Additional opportunities to comment on the draft plans will be provided before the final plans are submitted to NOAA Fisheries for approval.
Fishery Disaster Spend Plans Virtual Listening Sessions
The Department will hold public listening sessions on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, and Thursday, June 15, 2023. If you are unable to attend a listening session, please email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants will have up to 3 minutes to provide comments. The listening sessions will be organized by regions and fisheries as outlined in the schedule below. If you are unable to attend the designated time for your fishery, please submit written comments or join a listening session and you will be given an opportunity to provide comments after stakeholders in the designated fishery area have been heard. We will attempt to provide all listening session participants with an opportunity to comment and appreciate your patience.
June 14th 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Alaska Daylight Time
- 2:00 pm: Prince William Sound pink and coho salmon
- 3:00 pm: Chignik, Kuskokwim River, and Norton Sound salmon and Norton Sound red king crab
Join on June 14th by Microsoft Teams meeting: Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 287 437 312 166
Download Teams | Join on the web
Or call in (audio only) +1 907-202-7104, Phone Conference ID: 106259287#
June 15th 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Alaska Daylight Time
- 2:00 pm: Bristol Bay red king and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries
- 3:00 pm: Open session
Join on June 15th by Microsoft Teams meeting: Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 235 778 837 044
Download Teams | Join on the web
Or call in (audio only) +1 907-202-7104, Phone Conference ID: 719987176#
Guidance for submitting comments:
Disaster funds are intended to offset the harm incurred from a fishery failure. Disaster funds may be used to assess the economic and social effects of the fishery failure and for activities that restore the fishery or prevent a similar failure in the future. Disaster funds can be used to assist fishing communities affected by the fishery failure by helping commercial fishermen, processors, subsistence users, and infrastructure. See the NOAA Fisheries web site for additional information on fishery disaster assistance: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/funding-and-financial-services/fishery-disaster-assistance.
Previous Alaska fishery disaster spend plans have provided funds for two general categories: research and direct payments to affected fishery participants such as harvesters, processors, communities, and households. To assist in development of the spend plans for the six recent fishery disasters, the State is requesting comments on:
- categories of affected fishery participants to receive direct payments,
- eligibility criteria for direct payments,
- how to allocate funds among the categories of fishery participants,
- how to allocate funds among fisheries if several areas or years are included in the fishery disaster; and
- recommendations for research priorities.
Information on other Alaska fishery disasters, including spend plan development, can be found on the Department’s Fishery Disaster webpage: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hottopics.fisherydisasters