Alaska’s congressional delegation has signed onto a letter urging Congress to include $150 million in fishery disaster relief funds in any final funding package for fiscal 2014. The letter, signed by a total of 22 members of Congress, notes five fishery failures declared by the Secretary of Commerce still in need of funds. These include the disaster declared Sept. 12, 2012, for Alaska king salmon fisheries in the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and Cook Inlet.
Also cited were the Mississippi oyster and blue crab disaster, declared Sept. 12, 2012; the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery disaster in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, declared Sept. 13, 2012; Superstorm Sandy fisheries impacts, for New Jersey and New York, declared Nov. 16, 2012; and Florida oysters, due to excessive drought conditions on that state’s west coast, Aug. 12, 2013.
The signers urged including the $150 million in the Senate version of the fiscal year 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
The federal disaster funds could be used to provide fishermen vital help, including emergency financial assistance, operational costs, economic development programs, and science initiatives to manage the fishery in a timely way that gives confidence to all stakeholders, they said.