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On January 18, 2017, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker declared the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery a disaster under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Following this declaration, Congress appropriated $56.3 million to Alaska to address losses to the seven management areas in the Gulf of Alaska affected by the fishery failure. The State of Alaska in consultation with the Alaska Regional Office of NOAA have developed a draft distribution plan for these funds, that upon finalization will be administered by the Pacific States Marine Commission (PSMFC). Upon receipt of the funds, PSMFC will employ the disaster distribution plan to administer the funds to the affected entities. The State of Alaska’s intent, per the appropriation language, is to distribute the federal funds to the affected parties as soon as practical.
There are four categories outlined in the draft spending plan: research, municipalities, fishery participants, and processors. The distribution plan describes each category, eligibility criteria, and methods for allocating disaster funds. The State of Alaska is soliciting input from the public, affected users, and user groups on these elements of the spending plan. The distribution plan is open for public comment until 5pm (AST) September 7, 2018.
Access to the distribution plan and directions for public comment can be found at http://alaska.gov/go/D8T3.