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State Department Agrees To Transfer Funds To Maintain
Pacific Salmon Commission


September 12, 2003
Friday - 1:00 am

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, after a discussion Thursday with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, announced that the State Department has agreed to request immediate reprogramming of $600,000 to keep the Pacific Salmon Commission operating until funding is available for Fiscal Year (FY) 04.

"I expect this will now move very quickly," said Murkowski. "The hard part was getting everyone on the same page. The Salmon Commission's efforts to protect and enhance salmon stocks along the West Coast are critical to both individual fishermen and to good bilateral relations with Canada. It is critical that we keep it going, and I'm happy to say the Deputy Secretary is in full agreement."

The Commission, established as a bilateral obligation under the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty, maintains a 24-person office in Vancouver, B.C. It is responsible for ensuring that the sometimes contentious salmon issues between the two countries, including each countries' fishing limits, are handled smoothly.

According to information provided in a news release, the Commission has been in danger of being forced to close its doors because the U.S. share of its FY03 budget - approximately $1.7 million -- was not included in the State Department's funding last year. The Commission so far has maintained operations solely with the Canadian contribution, but that money is gone. Sen. Ted Stevens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has taken steps to ensure that funding will be available in FY04, but immediate help was needed in the interim before the FY04 money becomes available.

According to a news release, Murkowski, with Stevens' support, has been urging both the State Department and Congressional appropriators to work out a solution, but the State Department account, which normally pays for international commissions, did not have enough money to cover the difference. Under today's agreement, the Department will use money from its account for diplomatic and consular programs. However, moving funds from one State Department account to another also requires approval by congressional appropriators.

"I applaud Lisa's efforts in getting the State Department to recognize the importance of the Pacific Salmon Commission; I'm pleased the Commission will receive these funds.  Lisa has done a great service for Alaska's salmon fishermen," said Senator Stevens.



Source of News Release:

Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski
Web Site


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