Parnell requested similar declarations from the secretary’s office in July for the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers’ 2011 and 2012 salmon runs. The federal Magnuson-Stevens Act allows the Department of Commerce to provide aid to states after declared fishery disasters, although federal appropriations are necessary to fund assistance.
“Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries were severely restricted and even closed for much of the season in order to conserve Chinook salmon for escapement,” said Governor Parnell. “These fisheries are economic drivers for the local and regional economy, providing direct and indirect jobs, income to families, bringing in tens of thousands of visitors, and supporting local businesses. Alaskans suffered substantial losses as a direct result of the decline of the Chinook salmon runs.”
The request follows Parnell’s appointment of a scientific panel last month to investigate the failure of this year’s king salmon runs.