ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The U.S. Commerce Department has released $7 million in emergency funds to help communities in the eastern Aleutians and Pribilof Islands hurt by the Opilio crab disaster.
The federal funds are to be matched with more than $2 million in state and community funds for a total of $9.3 million.
The Bering Sea crab fleet took a devastating hit when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made sharp reductions in the crab harvest, citing a sudden drop in crab stocks.
Senator Ted Stevens says the emergency funds are aimed at sustaining and diversifying the communities affected and to assess the economic and social effects of the crab disaster.
In addition to the emergency funds, other assistance available to those hurt by the disaster includes a loan program for permit holders.
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