ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska's wild salmon are now no different than a field of corn or soybeans when it comes to losses by natural causes.
Congress on Thursday approved a pilot program that will allow salmon fishermen to buy federally subsidized insurance protecting them against bad seasons.
The program was proposed by Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who called fishermen ''farmers of the sea.''
Rules for the salmon insurance program have yet to be worked out by the federal Department of Agriculture.
But under Stevens' provision, fishermen would be able to insure their catch starting in October 2001.
A basic policy would permit a fisherman to buy subsidized insurance that would replace up to a quarter of his annual fishing income.
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