Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As the season is either underway or close at hand for many of you, I wanted to provide a short update about where we are with the 2016 pink salmon disaster relief funding.
I believe we have some promising news. Thanks in part to outreach from people like yourselves, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office has been putting a lot of pressure on the federal level to expedite the release of the grant funding. It appears to be having some effect.
As I write this, it is Tuesday, May 28, according to new information, NOAA is aiming to release the grant funding to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) by this upcoming Saturday, June 1.
We are obviously keeping our fingers crossed as this process has not followed what I would call a predicable timeline. However, if this were to occur when indicated, the expectation is that it will be a relatively short period of time before the application process is in place.
Once the funding is approved, PSMFC will be sending you forms directly if you meet the eligibility criteria, which for fishery participants is that you were a permit holder in 2016 and caught at least 1,000 lbs. of pink salmon, or you were a deckhand on such an operation.
If you fall under some other extenuating circumstance as a participant, it may be up to you to reach out to them once the application process is in place, but otherwise you should be set.
Crewmembers will receive a check based on your skipper’s distribution and your crew percentage. Processing workers will be paid on a different formula developed by the processor and approved by NOAA.
We are in contact with the Department of Fish and Game and PSMFC and will send an update once approval from NOAA actually occurs. At that time, we should have more information to share regarding timelines and other specifics.
Bear with us a little longer. I know this has been a long wait, but I think the finish line is finally in sight!
Please call my office at 907-465-3271 regarding any questions.
—Rep. Louise Stutes