Alaska chum run                Credit: Wickersham’

Secretary of Commerce issues multiple fishery disaster determinations for Alaska
Determinations address economic impacts from 2018 to 2021

January 21, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today her determination, at the request of the Governor of Alaska, that multiple fishery disasters occurred from 2018 to 2021 across the state.

“Helping communities to bounce back from the impacts of fishery disasters is essential, and we are working to ensure there is relief coming for impacted Alaskans,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Disasters like these, which impact multiple fisheries across Alaska, illustrate how vital sustainable fisheries are to our economy at not only the local level, but for the economic health of our nation’s blue economy.”

The Secretary found that the following fisheries met the requirements for a fishery disaster determination:

  • Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net (2018) and Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries (2020)
  • Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon fisheries (2018)
  • Prince William Sound salmon fisheries (2020)
  • Copper River Chinook, sockeye, and chum salmon fisheries (2020)
  • Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab (2019/2020)
  • Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (2020)
  • Alaska Norton Sound, Yukon River, Chignik, Kuskokwim River, and Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries (2020)
  • Yukon River salmon fishery (2021)

Positive determinations make these fisheries eligible for disaster assistance from NOAA. The Secretary, working with NOAA Fisheries, evaluates each fishery disaster request based primarily on data submitted by the requesting state, tribe, or appointed official. A declared fishery disaster must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and/or the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. For example, there must be commercial fishery economic impacts and declines in fishery access or available catch resulting from specific allowable causes, such as natural causes beyond the control of fishery managers to mitigate.

Some fishery-related businesses impacted by this fishery disaster may also be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration. The determination of the appropriate allocation of funds for these disasters will be determined in the near future.

The Secretary has received additional requests for fishery disaster determinations from several other states and tribes. NOAA Fisheries is currently working with the requesters to finalize those evaluations.