Federal fisheries officials have approved a second round of disaster relief funds totaling $13 million for those affected by the 2012 Alaska fisheries disasters for Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers king salmon and the Cook Inlet salmon fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries said on Jan. 12 that $7.5 million is allocated for salmon disaster research, restoration, education, gear replacement/modification and outreach, with $6.4 million for the Yukon/Kuskokwim region and $1.1 million for Cook Inlet.
$700,000 is allocated for direct payments to commercial buying stations and salmon buyers in the Cook Inlet area. Another $4.5 million in direct payments goes to the recreation fishing sector, including sport fishing guides and related businesses, as compensation for loss of income.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will coordinate, plan and administer distribution of the funds throughout the grant period.
Alaska regional administrator Jim Balsiger said that his agency is relieved that the funds are approved and that he looks forward to getting direct payments to those affected.
Funds slated for salmon disaster research and restoration will help mitigate future fishery failures and impacts,” he said.
Back in February of 2014, Congress allocated $75 million for six fisheries disasters nationwide, including $20.8 million for the Chinook salmon fishery failure of 2012 in Alaska. Distribution of the first round of fisheries disaster funds, totaling $7.8 million began soon after approval in August 2014. The payout included direct payments to commercial fishermen with $3.2 million going to the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and $4.6 million to the Cook Inlet region.