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Hunting & Fishing

Federal relief money heading to Alaska communities – including Y-K Delta – impacted by fishery disasters

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Chum salmon

Alaska communities impacted by more than a dozen fishery disasters between 2018 and 2021 are set to receive $131.8 million in federal relief, according to an announcement on May 5 from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The funds were approved by Congress and allocated by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

But that’s a fraction of the money lost by the state’s fishing communities.

“Across the board here it looks like compared to the estimated losses from these disasters the funding that was provided makes up about 60 to 70% of those losses,” Fish and Game Program Manager Karla Bush said.

Fourteen fisheries in Alaska were approved as disasters by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce back in January. Those included the 2020 and 2021 Yukon River salmon fisheries and the 2020 Kuskokwim River salmon fishery.

Fish and Game will hold a listening session this week for public input on how the latest disaster money should be spent. Public comment for the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers will be taken between 9 and 10 a.m. on May 11. Participants will have up to three minutes to provide comments.

The Zoom link is:

  • Dial by your location:
    • 888 475 4499 US Toll-free
    • or 833 548 0276 US Toll-free
    • or 833 548 0282 US Toll-free
    • or 877 853 5257 US Toll-free
  • Meeting ID: 876 3932 1697
  • Passcode: 051122

More information about call-in times is available at the department’s website. Members of the public can also email comments to the department.

Bush said the department hopes to publish a preliminary spending plan for the money next month.

The fishery relief funding list for Alaska communities encompasses:

  • 2019 Norton Sound Red king crab fishery: $1,433,137
  • 2020 Norton Sound, Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, Chignik, and Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries, and 2021 Yukon River salmon fishery: $55,928,849
  • 2018 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net and 2020 Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries: $9,404,672
  • 2018 and 2020 Copper River and Prince William Sound salmon fisheries: $34,326,265
  • 2019/2020 Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab fishery: $12,935,199
  • 2020 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery: $17,772,540

This story was reported by Kirsten Dobroth at KMXT and modified by Anna Rose MacArthur at KYUK with information relevant to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.