Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gov. Parnell requests federal disaster declaration

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce requesting a disaster declaration over the poor Chinook salmon runs to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.

He suggested Cook Inlet might also qualify for disaster relief.

Here's a press release:

July 14, 2012

Gov. Parnell requests federal declaration of fishery disaster for 2011 and 2012 Chinook salmon fisheries on Yukon, Kuskokwim

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell today urged Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank to declare a fishery disaster for the Chinook salmon fisheries on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.

He also alerted the acting secretary that the Cook Inlet region is experiencing low Chinook salmon returns and may also qualify for an economic disaster declaration once the season has concluded.

"Ensuring the health and viability of our fisheries is essential for food security, cultural traditions, and quality of life for Alaskans," Parnell said. "Alaskans have depended on fishing for thousands of years. We must identify and address issues affecting this critical source of nutrition and jobs."

The Magnuson-Stevens Act authorizes various forms of federal assistance through the National Marine Fisheries Service when the secretary of commerce determines there is a commercial fishery failure due to a fishery resource disaster.

"It is important to emphasize the critical nature of these fisheries to the region's residents," Parnell wrote to Blank. "Residents in the Yukon and Kuskokwim regions experience some of the highest poverty rates in the country. Earnings from even small commercial fisheries are critical to make it through Alaska's winters. Even more important to these residents' survival is the ability to engage in subsistence harvests. The state of fisheries this year may severely impact their subsistence harvests."

The state of Alaska is submitting fisheries data to back up its request. A federal disaster declaration will not bring automatic assistance to the region. A federal appropriation is necessary to provide funding.


Anonymous said...

Shake the cdq money tree...there is plenty of cash if the money would flow to these poverty stricken residents. How many more handouts should the American people not 10percent of the Bering sea fish resource enough?

Anonymous said...

A must read: Andrew Jenson's CDQ article in AK Journal of Commerce.

Coastal Villages CDQ swaps signatures for nets. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

30-40% of the total population yet they get 24% of the pollock and 0% of the BS sablefish... What about the Yellowfin and Crab allocations?

Check out the numbers! CDQ allocations are not fair!

Who is paying Jensen?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Parnell would do the poor people of the Western Alaska region great service and consideration if he would request a change to the CDQ structure. Until then, the CDQ billions given to Western Alaska on the poor peoples behalf is untouchable by them as they face the destruction of a thousands year old way of life - the tradition and culture of living off the salmon.

Fishery resource disaster monies don't trickle down to the poor people. It's a scam where the smart people fool the dumb people into believing that they are helping in some way.

Changing the structure of the CDQ program needs a Congressional Act. The CDQs need to become more responsive to the poor who are the stakeholders of the CDQ monies. Presently there are billions and billions of Federal Dollars not regulated by State or Federal oversight.

Mr. Parnell, in asking the Federal Government for a handout doesn't make a lot of sense to me when there are billions already owned by the people. Fix the CDQs - make them accountable to the poor people who can no longer live on the King Salmon because they are being destroyed in the sea before they return to the rivers to spawn.

Asking the federal government for a handout in the form of fishery disaster monies is a cop-out. The monies won't reach the poor.

Anonymous said...

To help make the state's case stronger, perhaps Mr. Parnell should include numbers from the Norton Sound area where subsistence fishers have had 30 years of salmon subsistence harvest restrictions.

In reference to the subsistence users in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, he said, "Even more important to these residents' survival is the ability to engage in subsistence harvests."

The Yukon-Kuskokwim is part of Western Alaska and so is the Norton Sound where subsistence salmon fishing has been in a downward spiral for 30 years. In fact, subsistence salmon fishers have been hitting rock bottom since most of the quality salmon species are being placed on the "Stocks of Concern" list - summer chum salmon for example.

The King Salmon in the Norton Sound region is weak as of July 13th. North River - 300 kings; Unalakleet River - 100 kings; Inglutalik River - 600 kings; Pilgrim River - Extinct at 0 kings down from 44 kings counted in 2011. Pilgrim River king salmon run extinct in one lifetime. Poor stewardship up this way. Disaster to the max.

Anonymous said...

time to put up some state and federal dough for the east side setnetters as well, who just lost their season due to a 0.2 percent bycatch of kings

Tim Smith said...

On July 15 at 8:15 anonymous commenter wrote, "30-40% of the total population yet they get 24% of the pollock and 0% of the BS sablefish... Check out the numbers! CDQ allocations are not fair!"

The CDQ group representing the largest number of people is Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation with 34% of the people in communities eligible for the CDQ program. We receive the lowest per capita CDQ allocations. Performance in achieving the community economic development goals of the CDQ program is supposed to factor into CDQ allocations and NSEDC has not performed well in that regard but the allocations don't make a lot of sense. APICDA with only 5% of the population gets 14% or the BSAI pollock? How did that happen and how long is this inequity going to continue?

Nothing about the way the CDQ program has been implemented is fair. It is time for a thorough overhaul of how the program operates and the upcoming MSA reauthorization will be a good time to get that done.

An objective decennial review by the State of Alaska that is being done this year would help identify the deficiencies but so far there has been very little news about what is happening in that regard. I hope it will not be a whitewash. The decision makers need quantitative information on how the program has been working during the past 20 years before they can make the necessary changes and the decennial review should provide that information.

Anonymous said...

Thousands of poor people in the Western Alaska coastal area, the stakeholders of the CDQ program, are hoping that the decennial review will be true and honest and that it will also show a need for reorganizing the CDQ program to directly benefit all of the stakeholders in the poverty stricken villages as originally intended back 20 years ago when it was formed.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps APICDA is doing the right thing for the village they represent.

Perhaps the CDQ program needs to be reorganized in order to be fair and balanced for the poor people of Western Alaska.

Perhaps each CDQ qualifying village in Western Alaska should be allocated CDQ monies directly into their village coffers. This will guarentee survival on a personal needs level.

Right now in the Norton Sound, some of the villages are being neglected. Diomede, Wales, Brevig Mission and Teller are hurting bad.

Teller should be a hot spot for the northwestern most villages because there is one honest and compassionate man with visions for his part of the state. Yet this man has no influence in the current structure of the CDQ for his village. He is labeled the 'bad guy' because he speaks out and challenges the control on behalf of his proverty stricken village on the shores of Grantley Harbor.

Teller would be a model spot for several reasons. Deep port in Grantley Harbor. The northwestern most red salmon run into the Pilgrim River can provide the people of Diomede, Wales, Brevig Mission and Teller itself with a small fishery for this part of the state. Except it's crashing, the red run out of Teller and Brevig Mission is crashing due to mismanagement.

The state needs to step in before the Pilgrim River red run is totally destroyed and that's happening fast, very, very fast. We're watching the downward spiral of the red run. Yet the people of Brevig Mission and Teller have no influence over the management of their once bountiful resource of red salmon. They are being ignored and neglected by the people who are running the red salmon train into the ground of extinction, just like the Pilgrim River king salmon run, extinct just this year at 3 counted past the Pilgrim River weir. Yet the poor people have no influence or say in how they want their traditional area resources managed.

That's not right by a long shot. It's downright criminal watching salmon runs become extinct in this day and age with all the technology for enhancement and restoration going on in other parts of the state.