State to get share of fisheries disaster aid

Alaska is set to receive $20.8 million in federal aid more than a year after three regions of the state were declared fisheries disaster areas following the 2012 fishing season.

The funds come out of a nationwide appropriation of $75 million to six fisheries disaster areas declared in 2012 and 2013, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Alaska’s Yukon, Kuskokwim and Cook Inlet fisheries join commercial fisheries in American Samoa, Mississippi, New England, Florid New York and New Jersey in divvying the money.

The commercial fishery failure was a first for Cook Inlet however fishers in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers have both experienced multiple years of fishery resource disasters.

Alaska’s Senate delegation wrote the Department of Commerce expressing support for the declaration when Gov. Sean Parnell submitted it, the group cited a drop in revenue of nearly 90 percent for east side setnetters in the Cook Inlet and a 50 percent reduction for northern district fishers.

Funds can be used for activities that “restore the fishery or prevent a similar failure in the future, and assist a fishing community affected by such failure,” according to a NOAA media release.

— Staff report

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