MYNORTHWEST NEWS

More than $220 Million in disaster relief coming to crabbers, salmon fishers

May 19, 2023, 12:17 PM | Updated: May 23, 2023, 8:10 am

disaster relief crabbers fishers...

Steve Waddle places golden king crab into a tote in the hold of the F/V Angjenl while unloading at Petersburg, Alaska on March 1, 2007. The U.S. Department of Commerce's disaster declaration for salmon and crab fisheries in Washington and Alaska opens the door for financial relief as part of an omnibus spending bill being negotiated by U.S. lawmakers. The declaration Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, covers Bristol Bay king crab harvests suspended for two years, and the snow crab harvest that will be canceled for the first time in 2023. (AP Photo/Klas Stolpe, File)

(AP Photo/Klas Stolpe, File)

Crabbers and salmon fishers in Washington State and Alaska will be receiving more than $220 million in federal disaster relief funds for the canceled crabbing and fishing season.

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced the funding Thursday after urging the federal government to include disaster relief aid in the 2023 fiscal omnibus spending bill.

Crabbers, fishermen seek US aid after disaster declaration

“Crab and salmon harvests are critical to the livelihoods of thousands of Washington state families and local economies across the Pacific Northwest,” said Senator Murray. “Our fishermen and small businesses have been grappling with disasters that have hit year after year, and they need all the help they can get. Securing these federal dollars in the end-of-year spending package was a top priority for me and I’m thrilled this money is getting out the door and into the hands of those who need it.”

The aid covers Bristol Bay king crab harvests suspended for two years and the snow crab harvest that will be canceled for the first time in 2023. Also covered are 2021 salmon harvests from Alaska’s Kuskokwim River and 2019 and 2020 Washington salmon fisheries, almond others.

The Federal fishery disasters aid covers for the following harvests:

  1. 2021/2022 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab Fisheries
  2. 2019 Washington Columbia River, Willapa Bay, Puget Sound Salmon Fisheries
  3. 2020 Washington Ocean Salmon Fisheries
  4. 2021 Alaska Kuskokwim River Salmon and Norton Sound Chum and Coho Salmon Fisheries
  5. 2021 Chignik Salmon Fisheries
  6. 2020 Copper River/Prince William Sound Coho and Pink Salmon Fisheries
  7. 2020/2021 Alaska Norton Sound Red King Crab Fisheries
  8. 2022/2023 Alaska Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab Fisheries

Cancellations of the 2022/2023 Bering Sea snow crab, the 2022/2023 Bristol Bay red king crab, and the 2021/2022 Bristol Bay Red King Crab harvests have caused an estimated $287.7 million in economic losses for fisheries. Cancellations of the 2020 Washington Ocean Salmon Fisheries, which impacted non-Tribal ocean catch quotas for Chinook and Coho salmon, resulted in revenue losses of 50% based on preliminary data.

Many of the boats and processing centers are based in Washington.

Copper River salmon season kicks off with Sea-Tac arrival

State governors, tribes, or a representative of an affected fishing community can apply to receive disaster funding through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fishery Disaster Assistance program.

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More than $220 Million in disaster relief coming to crabbers, salmon fishers