Relief for fisheries disasters declared last year is one step closer to the fishermen in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski was able to include a fisheries disaster amendment to the budget resolution that recently passed the Senate. It includes disaster funds for states impacted by fishery disasters in 2012. Murkowski says it’s a positive step forward but cautions that there are no checks in the mail yet.
“Obviously those budgets still need to go to conference, so it’s a long way from home but it was a very important, important step in acknowledging that there was support for our fisheries disasters amendment,” Murkowski said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce in September declared a resource disaster for the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and Upper Cook Inlet Chinook salmon fisheries.
It was the second fisheries disaster declared for the Yukon River since 2009.
Alaska’s delegation encouraged the commerce secretary to make the disaster declaration, which backed Governor Parnell’s requests, as well as resolutions by AVCP and the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Back then, the delegation said the relief process would be lengthy. They said while the declaration came swifter than a similar fisheries disaster decision in 2009, the time involved between a decision and disbursement of funds could take over a year.