Jan 15

From Governor Parnell’s news release:

State of Alaska > Governor > News > News Details Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook Printer Friendly FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 10-010

Secretary Locke Declares Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska –

Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed a decision by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke finding that a disaster has occurred with the 2009 Yukon River chinook salmon run, opening the door for federal aid to the area. “I appreciate Secretary Locke’s recognition of the severity of the situation along the Yukon River and the dependence of Alaskans on these salmon runs,” Governor Parnell said. The federal disaster declaration is in response to requests made by Governor Parnell, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives. The request detailed the biological and economic situation on the Yukon River and the impacts of the reduced chinook runs. The declaration does not bring immediate aid to the affected area. The congressional delegation must still secure a federal appropriation. Federal aid, once secured, could be used for relief programs, stock research, training programs, fisheries infrastructure, or other regional projects. ###


 Please see:
‘Feds declare fisheries disaster for Yukon Kings
Posted by thevillage

Posted: January 15, 2010 – 11:01 am’


The story here has quite a bit more info and a link to the letter to our governor from Secretary Locke.


Here is Governor Parnell’s original request for disaster declaration from the feds last August.


Please note the governor requested relief under the following section of the Magnusson Stevens Act. 

 community, or by the Secretary in cooperation with the affected State or fishing community
“‘Fishery resource disaster determinations are made pursuant to provisions of the Magnuson Stevens Act and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. Disaster assistance may be provided for commercial fishery failures caused by fishery resource disasters.
There is no standing fund to allocate toward determinations that might be made. Congress examines each disaster individually, and decides whether to appropriate funds, and if so, what amount. If Congress decides to appropriate funds, NOAA’s Fisheries Service works with the states, interstate fisheries commissions, fishing industry, and others to distribute funds in response to these determinations.’
 (1) At the discretion of the Secretary or at the request of the Governor of an affected State
or a fishing community, the Secretary shall determine whether there is a commercial fishery
failure due to a fishery resource disaster as a result of—
(A) natural causes;
(B) man-made causes beyond the control of fishery managers to mitigate through
conservation and management measures, including regulatory restrictions (including
those imposed as a result of judicial action) imposed to protect human health or the
marine environment; or
(C) undetermined causes.
(2) Upon the determination under paragraph (1) that there is a commercial fishery failure,
the Secretary is authorized to make sums available to be used by the affected State, fishing
for assessing the economic and social effects of the commercial fishery failure, or any

activity that the Secretary determines is appropriate to restore the fishery or prevent a similar

failure in the future and to assist a fishing community affected by such failure. Before

making funds available for an activity authorized under this section, the Secretary shall make

a determination that such activity will not expand the size or scope of the commercial fishery

failure in that fishery or into other fisheries or other geographic regions.

(3) The Federal share of the cost of any activity carried out under the authority of this

subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the cost of that activity.

 (4) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as are necessary
for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2013.


from the
CRS Report for Congress
Commercial Fishery Disaster Assistance
updated May 2 2008
“Requests usually contain information describing the alleged fishery failure.
Although guidelines for handling requests are not codified in rule, the Secretary
typically directs the appropriate Regional Administrator for NMFS to collect and
analyze required information such as the historical context, the biological and
economic magnitude of the disaster, and the relationship between underlying causes
and the alleged fishery failure.
2 Depending on the circumstances, states may provide
most of these data and the related analysis. The Secretary uses the information to
determine whether or not the situation constitutes a fishery failure. Once the
Secretary declares that a fishery failure has occurred, Congress may use the
MSFCMA as a means to provide funds for financial assistance to harvesters and
other affected parties.
After funds are appropriated, the Secretary would make relief available to the
affected state or fishing community, often through state agencies. Funding under the
MSFCMA may be used to address a broad variety of needs including assessment of
the social and economic effects of the failure, assistance to the community, and
projects to restore the fishery or prevent reoccurrence of a similar failure. Before
releasing funds the Secretary must also determine that relief activities would not
expand the size and scope of the failure in that fishery, other fisheries, or affect
fisheries in other geographic regions. The federal share of assistance carried out
under the MSFCMA cannot be greater than 75% of the cost of relief activities.
Issues for Congress
Commercial fisheries are strongly influenced by environmental conditions that
may affect industry infrastructure or the abundance and distribution of the fishery
resource. These changes often take place suddenly; in the case of hurricanes and
harmful algal blooms within a fishing season with little or no warning. Disaster
relief programs may help save businesses that have been devastated and can address
severe economic fluctuations by providing assistance until conditions return to
“normal.” Several concerns have emerged that relate to the nature of commercial
fisheries and disaster relief programs, including (1) timing relief to meet crucial
needs, (2) relating disaster relief to long-term fisheries management, (3) defining a
fishery failure, and (4) determining the beneficiaries of relief.

After a fishery failure is declared, funding is dependent on appropriations by
Congress. Given the timing of appropriations bills and congressional schedules, it
can be difficult to appropriate funding in a timely manner
. Hurricane Katrina and
Hurricane Rita fishery disaster funding was appropriated in June 2006, more than
nine months after the Gulf fishery failure was declared in September 2005. Many in
the industry asserted that the greatest need occurred immediately after the hurricanes,
when infrastructure, vessels, gear, and markets were lost to fishermen and other
industry participants. The West Coast troll salmon fishery was declared a fishery
failure in the summer of 2006, but funding was not appropriated until May 2007.”
We hope to hear from our Congressional delegation soon  regarding a likely timeline for appropriations hearings and related questions.
A Sample Letter to our Alaskan Congressional Delegation Concerning Yukon Fishery Disaster

Honorable Rep Don Young,
Honorable Senator Lisa Murkowski,
Honorable Senator Mark Begich:
Thank you for your part in encouraging Commerce Secretary Locke to address the current fisheries failures on the Yukon. Now that a 312(a) disaster declaration has been issued can you share what happens at the Congressional level?
We are hearing that funding must be procured. What is the process and the timetable?
This kind of disaster declaration is very different than those most people are familiar with. Can you explain why the fed restricts it’s assistance to 75% of total assistance available to mitigate the fishery failure?
Will you explain the normal mix of aid, study, and activity which Congress expects when authorizing assistance on fisheries failures?
Everyday people have a hard time getting concrete news and information  about things which affect them. We are hoping you will take the time to answer these few questions for us.
Any answers you provide will help all Alaskans, especially those in Western Alaska,  have a better understanding of where this declaration goes from here.
Thank you.




A phone call to Senator Begich’s office  , asking the questions in the above sample letter, has added some information  regarding the  where and what needed for  the follow -through process to get real aid to the Yukon.

Please continue to check anonymousbloggers for information and updates .

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Before any money is allocated to this declaration of disaster, lets look back at the Federal Funds poured into this black hole in the 90’s. Millions of dollars and limited and/or no posted results to this day. Let’s look at the Special Interest Agencies who dominated the fund allocations and see if they really and truly helped to resolve the issue and move forward then. One decade later, the problem continues with no documented results given to the people. Something is wrong with this picture.

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