Representative Foster and Senator Olson of House District 39 and Senate District T wrote the following letter to Governor Michael Dunleavy on October 28th, 2022.
Honorable Governor Michael Dunleavy,
We are writing on behalf of our constituents to urge you to declare a fishing disaster for the 2022 Yukon River Salmon Fishery.
The 2022 closure of commercial and subsistence chinook and chum salmon fisheries were devasting for Yukon River families, fishermen, processors, and municipalities. Another year of lost income for families, businesses, and local governments is crippling after experiencing several years of fishing disasters, the pandemic, the recent summer fires, and Typhoon Merbok. There are few employment opportunities in this region and many of our constituents rely on salmon fishing for their annual income and food security.
These crushing losses over the last three years have been felt on many levels for families and communities. The damage to culture and traditions is vast. Families and communities are in need of support to address basic needs and services with rising high costs of food and fuel. We appreciate the work that your office and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have provided to address causes through salmon research and the Alaska Bycatch Taskforce, and also the donation of salmon to villages.
A disaster declaration from your office now will get the request into the federal disaster determination list sooner and provider quicker financial support to rural Alaskan families and communities recovering from repeated tragedies.
Thank you for your attention to this request in support of families and communities of the Yukon River. We urge you to declare a salmon fisheries disaster for the 2022 Yukon River Salmon Fishery.
Rep. Neal Foster, House District 39
Sen. Donny Olson, Senate District T