More than $42 million in federal fishery disaster relief is being allocated to help U.S. fishermen, from the hurricane-wracked Louisiana Gulf coast to Alaska’s Yukon River salmon communities.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the disaster aid packages Monday for Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Yurok Tribe fisheries, from 2017 to 2022.

“Sustainable fisheries are essential to the health of our communities and support the nation’s economic well-being,” Raimondo said in announcing the funding. “With these allocations, it is our hope that these funds help the affected communities and tribes recover from these disasters.”

The allocations break down across eight categories: 

The National Marine Fisheries Service used commercial revenue loss information to allocate funding across the eligible disasters. The agency also considers traditional uses of the fisheries resources that cannot be accounted for in commercial revenue loss alone, such as cultural and subsistence uses.

“The impacts of fishery disasters are a great concern for the communities that depend on these fisheries to support the lives and livelihoods of their local economies,” said Janet Coit, the assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “With climate change further stressing our fisheries and ecosystems, it is essential that we work together to mitigate the impacts of disasters, restore fisheries and help prevent future disasters.”

Congress provided fishery disaster assistance funding in the 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts. Positive determinations make these fisheries eligible to receive a funding allocation from those appropriations. These funds will help improve the impacted fisheries’ long-term economic and environmental sustainability. Funds can assist the impacted fishing communities including commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure and subsistence users. 

Activities that can be considered for funding include fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, job retraining and more. Some fishery-related businesses impacted by the fishery disasters may also be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration

“In the coming months, NOAA Fisheries will work with the states and tribes receiving allocations under this announcement to administer these disaster relief funds,” according to the agency announcement. “Fishing communities and individuals affected by these disasters should work with their state and/or the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission as appropriate.”

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