Delegation Welcomes Over $200 Million in Fishery Disasters Funding for Alaska
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, (both R-Alaska), and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) welcomed allocations of nearly $216 million in fishery disaster funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce. In December, the Secretary of Commerce announced that a number of Alaska’s crab and salmon fisheries met the requirements for disaster determinations in the past few years, allowing this funding to be distributed to fishermen and their crews, seafood processors, and research initiatives in regions that experienced fishery disasters.
“This disaster funding comes at a time when several of our state’s fisheries are experiencing traumatizing and devastating collapses—so it will make a real difference for impacted fishermen and communities,” said Senator Murkowski. “I thank Secretary Raimondo for listening to Alaskans and ensuring that they will receive timely relief. Our fisheries are vital to our state and the nation, and this support will go to important research and recovery efforts that can help fishermen and fishing communities right now. Alaskans are resilient—we will get back on our feet.”
“Our state has suffered economic hardship over the last few years, with the impacts of the pandemic layered atop an unprecedented number of fisheries disasters,” Senator Sullivan said. “Our great fishing industry is a pillar of Alaska’s economy and culture, and our hardworking fishermen—the ultimate small businessmen—work around the clock to produce seafood for America and the world. These funds are welcome news that will ensure that our fishermen can continue to responsibly harvest the freshest, most sustainable seafood in the world.”
“This funding is a welcome step that will bring some relief to Alaska,” said Representative Peltola. “However, we must continue with all efforts to restore our fisheries. A new round of subsistence fishing closures was just announced on the Yukon River, marking the fourth year in a row that subsistence fishermen have not been able to put nets in the water for chum salmon. This is a crisis that threatens both food security for many villages and our cultural heritage. Disaster relief funding for specific fisheries alone is not enough--we need large-scale action. I am continuing to work with NOAA as they update their National Standards for fisheries management, and will pursue every possible solution to protect our fish.”
“Several of Alaska's iconic crab fisheries are in crisis from closed fisheries severely affecting hard working fishermen, 2nd and 3rd generation family fishing businesses, and coastal communities. Crabbers appreciate the work the Secretary of Commerce and Congress have recently done to speed up the fishery disaster process and to allocate these funds. It helps to reduce the loss of our fleet and skilled fishermen and to reduce the economic harm to processors and crab-dependent communities. In addition, we are actively planning for the future to build a more resilient crab fishery. These funds can help us get there,” said Jamie Goen, Executive Director, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.
- On November 15, 2022, the Alaska delegation sent a letter to Secretary Raimondo in support of Governor Dunleavy’s 2020-2023 fishery disasters declarations.
- On November 17, 2022, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, along with Senators Cantwell and Murray (both D-Wash.), sent a letter to Secretary Raimando requesting a federal disaster for several crab fisheries.
- On December 16, 2022, the In December, the Department of Commerce determined that fishery disasters have occurred in numerous Alaska fisheries, allowing this funding to be distributed to fishermen and their crews, seafood processors, and research initiatives in regions that experienced fishery disasters.
# # #
Next Article Previous Article