Alaska increases estimate of salmon disaster

Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Commissioner Susan Bell enclosed the estimate of losses by commercial fishery permit holders in a letter to the Alaska congressional delegation. An estimate in September put the suspected loss at more than $10 million.

The figures, Bell said, did not reflect the total financial loss for Alaskans. Crew members missed the opportunity to fish and earn wages. Support businesses could not supply commercial fishermen.

“Processors and their workforces also suffered from lower throughput, and unexpected loss of market share,” Bell said. “Additionally, fishing communities suffered from a loss in fish and sales tax revenues.”

Gov. Sean Parnell requested disaster declarations over the summer following weak king salmon returns that had state fisheries managers closing seasons to ensure that enough fish reached breeding streams. In some cases, managers halted fishing for other salmon species so enough kings could escape.

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