ANCHORAGE (AP) Alaska fishermen will qualify for federal aid under the new Trade Adjustment Assistance program set up for farmers, but they will have to act quickly to qualify this year.
A $90 million compensation fund is being established by the Bush administration to help workers affected because of competition from foreign trade, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Murkowski said Alaska fishermen deserve the same type of aid when they face lower commodity prices because of foreign competition.
Under the program Alaska fishermen may qualify for up to $10,000 annually when increased aquaculture imports have contributed ''importantly'' to a price decline and the national average for fish is less than 80 percent of the preceding five-year average. Both conditions already are present.
The rule will be published next week in the Federal Register. Fishermen will have to apply by Aug. 31. Murkowski said checks are expected to be sent out in January.
Murkowski expects to have application forms at her state offices when they are prepared by the Department of Agriculture.
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