On Thursday, the US Department of Commerce allocated $220 million (€204 million) in fishery disaster funding to Alaska and Washington state for fishery disasters that occurred in multiple Alaska and Washington fisheries between 2019 and 2023.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the allocation would come through Congress via its 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts.
The funding will go to Bristol Bay's red king crab fishery, which for the past two years has been canceled in Bristol Bay, with fishermen facing bankruptcy and job losses.
It will also be used to aid Western Alaska, which is experiencing a salmon disaster, a multi-species, multi-year salmon collapse, and the coho and pink salmon fisheries in Prince William Sound.
NOAA specified the following fishery/fishing years as those that will receive funding:
- 2022/2023 Alaska Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries
- 2021/2022 Alaska Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries
- 2021 Alaska Kuskokwim River salmon, Norton Sound chum and coho salmon fisheries
- 2021 Alaska Chignik calmon fishery
- 2020 and 2021 Alaska Norton Sound red king crab fisheries
- 2020 Non-Tribal ocean salmon troll and Puget Sound salmon fisheries
- 2020 Alaska Copper River/Prince William Sound coho and pink salmon fisheries
- 2019 Washington Columbia River, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound salmon fisheries
Funds can be used to assist the impacted fishing communities including commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure and subsistence users, the agency said.
Activities that can be considered for funding include fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, job retraining and more. Some fishery-related businesses impacted by the fishery disasters may also be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration.
In the coming months, NOAA Fisheries said it will work with the states receiving allocations under this announcement on administering these disaster relief funds.