Alaska US Representative Mary Peltola has joined Alaska crabbers in a request for hundreds of millions in relief aid following the second year of closing the state's red king crab fishery.
On Oct. 20 she sent a letter to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting $250 million (€251 million) in fisheries disaster funding as an emergency appropriation to address the fishery collapse that she said has been "economically devastating" to thousands of boat owners, crew members, seafood processor workers, wholesalers, retailers and service industry workers.
"Of course, the hope and intent of these fishery management closures are to rebuild healthy and sustainable crab stocks, but until then participants in the industry will need to financially stay afloat until they can go back out on the water and earn a living," she said.
"Disaster funding is certainly not a long-term alternative to a productive fishery and sustainable harvest, but it is a crucial way to support people, communities and their jobs while we simultaneously support rebuilding the crab stocks."
Peltola's letter echoed an earlier request made by Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers Executive Director Jamie Goen to the state's governor.
In a statement Wednesday, Goen said closures in Alaska’s snow and red king crab fisheries in the Bering Sea "come with a billion-dollar hit to the US economy."
"Across the country, fisheries are racing the clock to adjust to changing climate and growing uncertainty," Goen said.
Peltola has been vocal about the need for better fisheries management in Alaska on her Twitter page, and has prioritized Alaska fisheries management ahead of competitive race to keep her US House seat.
Peltola beat Sarah Palin and Republican Nick Begich in a special August special election to fill the remainder of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term. Those three, along with Libertarian Chris Bye, are running in the Nov. 8 election for a full, two-year term, starting in January, the news site says.
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