Disaster Declarations announced for Alaska Fisheries

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, (both R-Alaska), and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) welcomed determinations from the U.S. Department of Commerce that fishery disasters have occurred in numerous Alaska fisheries, allowing Alaska fishermen to receive critical relief funding. The funding can be distributed to fishermen and their crews, seafood processors, and research initiatives in the impacted regions.

“Our fisheries have faced incredible challenges—from the fall red king crab and winter snow crab harvests being cancelled to a number of salmon fishery disasters. These are not only devastating to Alaska’s fishing and seafood industry and Alaskan families, but Alaska’s economy as a whole. I’m working to push policy initiatives to help understand the underlying issues, including through appropriations and legislation like the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act, a bill Senator Sullivan and I led which just passed the Senate. But, as we work to learn as much as we can, as fast as we can, to get to the root of the problem and help Alaska get our fisheries back on track—this vital industry needs support now,” said Senator Murkowski. “I thank Secretary Raimondo for listening to the urgency of the Alaska Delegation’s request and understanding the importance of not only granting these disaster declarations, but doing so expeditiously. I’m now working diligently on the next step—securing the funding necessary to support these fishery disasters.”

“Our state has suffered extraordinary economic hardship over the last few years with the impacts of the pandemic layered on top of an unprecedented number of fishery disasters,” Senator Sullivan said. “Our great fisheries resources provide a pillar within Alaska’s economy and culture. Now that a fishery disaster has been declared, we can work to secure appropriations to fund these fishery disaster declarations. I want to thank Secretary Raimondo for working so closely with the Alaska congressional delegation on these important determinations that will allow for much needed fishery disaster relief to reach Alaskans who are reliant on this resource.” 

“I want to thank Secretary Raimondo for making these fishery disaster declarations in a timely manner,” said Representative Peltola. “This is an important first step and I will continue to work with Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan to secure additional funding needed to provide relief to the Alaskan fishing communities impacted by poor returns and closed fisheries while stocks have a chance to recover.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today issued determinations that fisheries disasters occurred in:

2021/2022 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab Fisheries

2021 Alaska Kuskokwim River Salmon and Norton Sound Chum and Coho Salmon Fisheries

2021 Chignik Salmon Fisheries

2020 Copper River/Prince William Sound Coho and Pink Salmon Fisheries

2020/2021 Alaska Norton Sound Red King Crab Fisheries

2022/2023 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab Fisheries

Background:

On November 15, 2022, the Alaska delegation sent a letter to Secretary Raimondo in support of Governor Dunleavy’s 2020-2023 fisheries disaster 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.

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