By The Associated Press
8:15 AM AKDT, September 13, 2012
The acting U.S. Commerce secretary has declared a commercial fishery disaster for king salmon in major Alaska fisheries.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, which flow into the Bering Sea off Alaska's west coast, and in Cook Inlet in southcentral Alaska, which includes the Kenai River.
Blank says low chinook salmon returns this year and in previous years are the reason for the declaration.
The declaration makes commercial fishermen eligible for relief if Congress approves funding.
Blank says some Cook Inlet salmon fisheries this year lost up to 90 percent of their historic average revenue.
A state report assessing reasons for the poor returns is due later this year.