Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed the news that Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank accepted his recommendation for a disaster declaration due to a commercial fishery failure on Alaska's Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers and in Cook Inlet due to low Chinook salmon returns during the 2012 fishing season and previous years.
In July, Governor Parnell requested the disaster determination for the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. He added Cook Inlet to the request in August. The disaster declaration makes it possible for Congress to provide disaster relief funding, which is subject to appropriation.
"I appreciate Secretary Blank's recognition of the severity of this situation for our coastal and river-system communities, and for the many families and businesses who rely on our Chinook salmon resources," Governor Parnell said. "My administration has worked closely with our Congressional delegation, which is already aggressively pursuing an appropriation to ensure our communities and fleets get needed assistance."
Governor Parnell has also assembled a team of fisheries scientists to develop a comprehensive research plan to better understand Chinook salmon abundance and productivity and increase understanding of the causes behind this unexpected and widespread decline.