JUNEAU (AP) -- A deputy commissioner has been tapped to head the response to the western Alaska fishery disaster by Gov. Tony Knowles' administration.
Bernice Joseph will lead what the administration is calling ''Operation Renew Hope.''
Joseph is deputy commissioner in the state Department of Community and Economic Development. She is a long-time Interior Native leader and a former assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Knowles has declared a disaster emergency for the Yukon, Kuskokwim and Norton Sound drainages.
Returns of king and chum salmon to the regions were at an all-time low this year. So bad were the runs that even subsistence fishing had to be limited.
The relief effort so far has secured more than $8 million, with the administration seeking more from federal sources.
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