The acting U.S. Commerce secretary has declared a commercial fishery disaster for king salmon in some Alaska fisheries.
Rebecca Blank on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, which flow into the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast, and in Cook Inlet in southcentral Alaska, which includes the Kenai River.
Blank says low chinook salmon returns this year and in previous years are the reason for the declaration.
It’s the second fisheries disaster declared for the Yukon River since 2009.
“It reflects that both the state and federal agencies need to consider other factors of why we’re having such a shortage of King salmon,” said Myron Naneng, President of the Association of Village Council Presidents. His organization represents 56 tribes in the YK Delta. The group passed a resolution in July requesting a disaster declaration for the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. Naneng hopes the disaster declaration will change the King salmon by-catch numbers in the Bering Sea Pollock fisheries.
“And probably reduce that amount that they had voted into using as their limit back in 2009, that 47,000 Chinook salmon that can go up to 60,000,” said Naneng. “And I think that that definitely needs to be lowered.”*
The disaster declaration makes commercial fishermen eligible for relief if Congress approves funding.
Blank says some Cook Inlet salmon fisheries this year lost up to 90 percent of their historic average revenue.
A state report assessing reasons for the poor returns is due later this year.
- The Haines School has a new top administrator this year, but it isn't Rich Carlson’s first time in the district. He held the same position during the 2015-2016 school year and Carlson said it feels like he never left.
- While millions of Americans went out of their way to travel somewhere to watch Monday’s eclipse for a few minutes, a few people took to the skies to watch it for hours.
- Juneau-based water testing company Admiralty Environmental said preliminary results show E. coli, a type of fecal coliform bacteria associated with human or animal waste, is present in the water.
- Skagway court has been without a local judicial officer. And that position isn’t set to be filled any time soon. Court system officials say the long-term plan is for a magistrate judge in Haines to handle cases from both Upper Lynn Canal communities.