Alaska Among Recipients Of Federal Fishing Relief Money Awarded (Updated)

Here’s the press release from NOAA:

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today the allocation of $144 million to Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (Washington State) that suffered fishery disastersbetween 2018 and 2021.

“Productive and sustainable fisheries play a vital role in supporting our blue economy, from creating jobs to literally putting food on the table, all while helping to preserve the health of our delicate ocean ecosystem,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Once distributed, these funds will help affected fisheries and communities recover from disasters and make them more resilient to future challenges.”

Today’s allocation announcement applies to previously declared fishery disasters for the 2019 Alaska Norton Sound king crab fishery, the 2019/2020 New York Peconic Bay scallop fishery, the Port Gamble Tribe’s 2018 Puget Sound coho salmon fishery, the Chehalis Tribe’s 2019 Chehalis River spring Chinook salmon fishery and the 2019 Atlantic herring fishery, as well as multiple fisheries between 2018 and 2021 in Alaska, including:

  •  2018 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net and 2020 Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries.
  •  2018 Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon fisheries, 2020 Prince William Sound salmon fisheries, and 2020 Copper River Chinook, sockeye, and chum salmon fisheries.
  •  2019/2020 Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab.
  •  2020 Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska.
  •  2020 Alaska Norton Sound, Yukon River, Chignik, Kuskokwim River, and Southeast Alaska Salmon fisheries.
  •  2021 Yukon River salmon fishery.

NOAA Fisheries used commercial revenue loss information to allocate funding across the eligible disasters. The agency also took into consideration traditional uses that cannot be accounted for in commercial revenue loss alone, such as cultural and subsistence uses.

These funds will help improve the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the impacted fisheries. Funds can be used to assist the impacted fishing communities including commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure and subsistence users. Activities that can be considered for funding include fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, job retraining and more.

Some fishery-related businesses impacted by the fishery disasters may also be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration or other federal agencies.

In the coming months, NOAA Fisheries will work with states receiving allocations under this announcement on administering these disaster relief funds. Fishing communities and individuals affected by these disasters should work with their state or tribe as appropriate.

See the detailed allocations to states and tribes under this announcement and learn more about fishery disaster assistance.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

NOAA Fisheries Announces Federal Fishery Disaster Allocations

(Juneau) — The Secretary of Commerce announced allocation of $144 million appropriated by Congress for fishery disasters, of which $131.8 million is for Alaska. Allocations to specific fishery disasters are below.

  1. 2019 Norton Sound Red king crab fishery: $1,433,137
  2. 2020 Norton Sound, Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, Chignik, and Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries, and 2021 Yukon River salmon fishery: $55,928,849
  3. 2018 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net and 2020 Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries: $9,404,672
  4. 2018 and 2020 Copper River and Prince William Sound salmon fisheries: $34,326,265
  5. 2019/2020 Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab fishery: $12,935,199
  6. 2020 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery: $17,772,540

Alaska had submitted these requests for disaster relief after concluding that they qualified as disasters. Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said “Alaska is pleased that Secretary concurred with these disaster applications and that awards have been made. These awards will offset some of the economic impacts fishermen and communities suffered as well as help ensure that future disasters are prevented.”

The State supports an open and transparent process for distributing disaster relief funds and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) 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, ADF&G plans to host a listening session to receive initial input on funding priorities from affected fishery participants.

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, subsistence users, and shore-side businesses and infrastructure. See the NOAA Fisheries web site for additional information on 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.

ADF&G will draft initial spend plans for the six recently funded fishery disasters based on input received during the listening session and through comments emailed to: Additional opportunities to comment on the draft plans will be provided before the final plans are submitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval.

ADF&G will hold a public listening session on Wednesday, May 11. If you are unable to attend the listening session, please email your comments to:

Fishery Disaster Spend Plans Listening Session

May 11, 2022. 09:00 AM – 4:00 PM Alaska Daylight Time
Join Zoom Meeting:

Participants will have up to 3 minutes to provide comments. The listening session 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 wait on the call until comments from stakeholders in the designated fishery area have been heard. We will attempt to remain flexible and appreciate your patience.

  • 9:00 am: Yukon River and Kuskokwim River salmon
  • 10:00 am: Norton Sound red king crab and salmon
  • 11:00 am: Southeast Alaska salmon
  • 1:00 pm: Upper Cook Inlet, Copper River, and Prince William Sound salmon
  • 2:00 pm: Chignik salmon and GOA Pacific cod
  • 3:00 pm: Bering Sea Tanner crab