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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Approves Disaster Declarations for American Fishing Communities


September 25, 2019
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) - Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced his determination that commercial fishery failures occurred for multiple fisheries between 2017 and 2019 in Alaska, California, Georgia, and South Carolina, while further finding that a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama due to extreme flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico.

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“Fishing is the cornerstone of countless coastal economies and has been a way of life for generations of Americans,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This determination acknowledges the critical role fisheries play in our communities, and the risks they face from natural disasters and other causes beyond their control.”

Fisheries help power coastal economies, providing jobs for fishermen, fish processors, and other maritime industries. However, these key resources can also be vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and other circumstances beyond the control of fishermen and fishery managers that can cause sudden and unexpected losses, leading to devastating impacts to businesses and the surrounding communities.

These determinations make these fisheries eligible for NOAA fisheries disaster assistance. For fiscal year 2019, Congress appropriated $165 million for fishery disasters. The Department of Commerce is determining the appropriate allocations of these funds to eligible fisheries. 

Alaska Congressman Don Young (R) praised the decision by Secretary of Commerce Ross to issue a disaster declaration for the multiple fisheries failures in Alaska, California, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Quoting a news release from Young, this determination makes affected Alaska fisheries eligible for disaster assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2016, fishing communities in the Gulf of Alaska were devastated by poor pink salmon returns, and continue to recover from the damage inflicted by low salmon and cod populations.

“Alaska’s maritime and seafood industries are essential to our economy and way of life – when they are prosperous, our state is prosperous. I am grateful to Secretary Ross and to NOAA for recognizing the Pacific cod and salmon fisheries disasters in the Gulf of Alaska,” said Congressman Young. 

Young said, “Our fishermen have been struggling to overcome the loss of income, and this determination will allow them to receive the assistance they desperately need. Fishing communities should not be left holding the bag when a natural disaster or other event impacts the fishery they rely on. The Department of Commerce has not determined how much money will go to Gulf of Alaska fishermen, but I will continue to monitor the situation and will be working with Secretary Ross to ensure affected fishermen, processors, and coastal communities are fairly compensated.”


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Office of Congressman Don Young




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