The process is underway to develop plans to distribute federal disaster funds for those hurt by the 2018 Gulf of Alaska cod crash.
In late February the Secretary of Commerce cut loose $24,416,440 for affected stakeholders.
On March 20 the State of Alaska sent out a letter by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang proposing a timeline for developing a funding distribution plan and calling for input from communities and fishing groups. [See the entire letter below]
The letter says the State hopes to draft an initial distribution plan and distribute it for stakeholder comments in April. The plan will be revised in May based on the public input and a second round of comments will be solicited in June and July.
The final distribution plan will be sent to the Secretary of Commerce in August.
Disaster funds can be used to assist fishing communities affected by the fishery failure by helping fishermen, subsistence users, and shore-side businesses and infrastructure.
Funds also can be used for research activities to improve the fishing ecosystem and environment.Previous Alaska fishery disaster distribution plans have provided funds for two general categories: research and direct payments to affected fishery participants.
The letter includes a table showing categories and allocations that were included in previous plans and asks for input on the spending, and if additional categories should be included.
ADF&G will coordinate development of the distribution plan. They also want input on the timeline and suggestions for outreach to affected stakeholders who might not be on their list.
Recommendations should be emailed to ADF&G by April 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org/.
Contact the Commissioner’s office for more information. (907) 465-6136
Letter from ADF&G Commissioner to GOA cod stakeholders —
March 20, 2020
2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod Federal Disaster Fund Distribution:
Dear Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery stakeholder:
The Secretary of Commerce announced on February 27, 2020, that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) allocated $24,416,440 for 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery disaster relief. The State of Alaska will work with affected stakeholders and NOAA Fisheries to identify funding priorities and develop a distribution plan for the disaster funds.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will administer the federal grant and distribute funds.
The State supports an open and transparent process for distributing disaster relief funds. We have outlined a proposed timeline for developing the funding distribution plan that provides multiple opportunities for stakeholder input:
March 2020: State requests initial input from stakeholder organizations on distribution plan categories and allocations
April 2020: State drafts initial distribution plan & distributes to stakeholder organizations for comment
May 2020: State revises distribution plan & requests 1st round of stakeholder and public comment
June/July 2020: State revises distribution plan & requests 2nd round of stakeholder and public comment
August 2020: State finalizes and submits distribution plan for approval by the Secretary of Commerce
Under the proposed process, the State will request input from stakeholder organizations prior to development of a draft distribution plan that will be distributed to the organizations for comment.
The State will make further revisions to the distribution plan based on comments received from stakeholder organizations and release the plan for two rounds of stakeholder public comment before submitting the final plan to the Secretary of Commerce for approval.
This letter kicks off the process to develop the distribution plan. The State is requesting your input, as a representative of an affected stakeholder organization, to identify funding priorities for the distribution plan.
Distribution plan Guidelines
Disaster funds are intended to offset the harm incurred from a fishery failure. Section 312(a)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act authorizes the use of disaster funds for assessing the economic and social effects of the commercial fishery failure and for activities that restore the fishery or prevent a similar failure in the future.
Disaster funds can be used to assist fishing communities affected by the fishery failure by helping commercial fishermen, subsistence users, and shore-side businesses and infrastructure. Funds also can be used for activities to improve the fishing ecosystem and environment. See the NOAA Fisheries web site
for additional information on fishery disaster assistance:
Before the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery disaster relief funds are released for distribution, the Secretary of Commerce must determine that the proposed distribution plan:
- would likely contribute to the restoration of the fishery and/or prevent a future failure and assist the affected fishing communities, and
- would not likely expand the size or scope of the commercial fishery failure in that fishery or into other fisheries or other geographic regions.
Previous Alaska fishery disaster distribution plans have provided funds for two general categories: research and direct payments to affected fishery participants. The following table identifies specific categories and allocations that were included in previous fishery disaster distribution plans.
The State is requesting your input on whether these spending categories, or additional categories not included in the table, would be appropriate for the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery disaster distribution plan. We are also seeking your input on appropriate proportional allocations to the distribution plan categories
The State recognizes that a healthy and productive Pacific cod fishery is vital to fishery participants and our coastal communities. Therefore, we intend to consider prioritizing 30% to 50% of the disaster funds for research projects to help scientists, managers and stakeholders understand the root cause of the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery failure and continued low stock levels to help identify management actions that can prevent, minimize or mitigate future fishery failures. We would appreciate your suggestions for potential research priorities for the draft distribution plan.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will coordinate development of the distribution plan. Please email your distribution plan recommendations to email@example.com by April 10, 2020.
In addition to receiving your input on the distribution plan, we would appreciate comments on the plan development process and timeline outlined in this letter, as well as suggestions for outreach to affected stakeholder organizations not included on the distribution list at the end of this letter.
We appreciate your input and look forward to working with you and other stakeholders to develop a distribution plan for the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery disaster. If you have questions about the distribution plan development process, please contact ADF&G at (907) 465-6136.
Sincerely Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner
GOA Pacific cod stakeholders
Ms. Pat Branson, Mayor, City of Kodiak
Mr. Henry Mack, Mayor, City of King Cove
Mr. Glen Gardner Jr., Mayor, City of Sand Point
Ms. Jean Bardarson, Mayor, City of Seward
Mr. Ken Castner, Mayor, City of Homer
Mr. Clay Koplin, Mayor, City of Cordova
Mr. Bill Roberts, Mayor, Kodiak Island Borough
Mr. Glen Alsworth Sr., Mayor, Lake and Peninsula Borough
Mr. Alvin Osterback, Mayor, Aleutians East Borough
Mr. Darius Kasprzak, President, Kodiak Jig Association
Mr. Kylie Thompson, President, Peninsula Fisherman’s Coalition
Mr. Todd Hoppe, President, Under Sixty Cod Harvesters
Ms. Chelsea Haisman, Executive Director, Cordova District Fishermen United
Mr. Jeff Stephan, Manager, United Fisherman’s Marketing Association
Ms. Julie Bonney, Executive Director, Alaska Groundfish Data Bank
Ms. Rebecca Skinner, Executive Director, Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association
Ms. Heather Mann, Executive Director, Midwater Trawlers Cooperative
Mr. Ilia Kuzmin, President, K-Bay Fisheries Association
Mr. Chris Woodley, Executive Director, Groundfish Forum
Ms. Megan O’Neil, Executive Director, Petersburg Vessel Owner’s Association
Mr. Malcom Milne, President, North Pacific Fisheries Association
Mr. Chris Barrows, President, Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Ms. Nikki Hoblet, Mayor, City of False Pass
Ms. Julianne Curry, Public Affairs Manager, Icicle Seafoods
CC: Senator Gary Stevens
Senator Lyman Hoffman
Senator Peter Micciche
Representative Sarah Vance
Representative Louise Stutes
Representative Bryce Edgmon
Representative Ben Carpenter