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JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott welcomed news that the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker accepted the state’s request for a disaster declaration on pink salmon harvests in the Gulf of Alaska last week. In accordance with Section 312 (a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (MSA), the State of Alaska requested the federal government declare a fishery disaster for poor pink salmon runs across the Gulf region in 2016.
“The impacts of low pink salmon runs are being felt across the entire Gulf of Alaska,” said Governor Bill Walker. “In addition to commercial fishermen and fish processors, those who sell fuel, tackle, supplies, groceries, and lodging are also struggling from the poor season. Local governments will also feel the burden on their economic base. We are pleased with this news from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and we will work with the federal government going forward to address this issue. I thank all the legislators who tirelessly advocated for this declaration, especially Representative Louise Stutes for making the first request.”
Low pink salmon runs across the Gulf of Alaska led to a significant drop in 2016 harvest numbers. This declaration provides Congress with a basis to appropriate disaster relief funding for economic assistance to affected communities. Should Congress appropriate relief funds, the State of Alaska would be required to match 25 percent of the amount authorized.
Source: State of Alaska