State/National/WorldNews Briefs

Commerce Department Sets Aside $20.6M for Fishery Disaster Relief

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the allocation of $20.6 million to address a fishery resource disaster impacting the 2023 Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook ocean and inland salmon fisheries. NOAA Fisheries utilized revenue loss data from commercial, processor, and charter sectors to distribute funding for the disaster.


Secretary Raimondo emphasized the broad-reaching impact of such disasters, which hit commercial and recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure and the marine environment. The allocated funds aim to aid affected California communities in recovery efforts and enhance sustainability.


Congress allocated fishery resource disaster assistance funding in the 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts, making these fisheries eligible for funding. The allocated funds will contribute to the impacted fisheries’ long-term economic and environmental sustainability, assisting commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses and subsistence users.


Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, acknowledged the significant concern within the fishing industry and among those dependent on these fisheries. She expressed hope that the allocation would expedite recovery efforts.


Eligible activities for funding include fishery-related infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, job retraining and more. Additionally, some fishery-related businesses affected by the disaster may qualify for assistance from the Small Business Administration.


The Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act, passed by Congress on Dec. 29, 2022, amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The disaster request for these fisheries was received after this date and evaluated under the amended statute.


In the upcoming months, NOAA Fisheries will collaborate with the state of California to administer the disaster relief funds. Fishing communities and individuals impacted by the disaster are encouraged to coordinate with their state or other relevant agencies for assistance.


For more information on fishery disaster determinations and assistance, visit the NOAA Fisheries website.

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