Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott signed a letter last week asking the federal government to declare the 2018 Pacific cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska a disaster.
That could make the fishery eligible for federal relief funds, although who specifically would receive money would be figured out later.
It follows a decline in stock and a deep cut to the 2018 Pacific cod quota in the gulf.
According to the letter, the value of the 2018 Pacific cod harvest is looking at a more than 80 percent drop in revenue from the five-year average. Barbara Blake, senior adviser to Walker and Mallott, said crossing that 80 percent threshold makes the fishery eligible for a disaster declaration.
Blake said the letter will go to the secretary of commerce for a decision.
“How we’ve seen this come about in the past is that request goes in along with other natural disasters, and that’s how we end up getting the appropriations for that, is they roll it into natural disasters like hurricane relief and things of that nature,” Blake said.
That’s also how the fishery disaster for the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon season won funding this year. It’s unclear if the timeline for this declaration will be comparable.
- A ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat is facing stiff opposition from industry groups, unions and Native corporations in Alaska. That opposition was on full display at an Anchorage hearing on the measure this week.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has contracted a team of real estate experts to help decide what to do with a waterfront property it put up for sale more than two years ago. But the City and Borough of Juneau and would-be developers are losing patience.
- About 50 community members waved homemade signs. Representatives from the Alaska branch AFL-CIO and Alaska Native community also spoke.
- Starting Oct. 1, the airline will fly between St. Paul and Anchorage three times per week instead of four — and between Dillingham and Anchorage two times per day instead of three.