Secretary of Commerce approves disaster declarations in 4 U.S. commercial fisheries

Coastal communities in Alaska, New York and Washington to benefit

Commercial fishing boats in port at Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Undated istock image.
Commercial fishing boats in port at Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Undated image. (istock)

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today her determination that fishery disasters occurred in four fisheries in 2018, 2019, and 2020 — for two states, Alaska and New York, and for two Tribes, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis, in Washington.

“Fisheries are essential to our communities and economy and we want to ensure America is in a position to remain competitive on the global stage,” Secretary Raimondo said. “These determinations allow us to lend a helping hand to the fishing families and communities that have experienced very real and difficult setbacks in the last few years.”

The Secretary, working with NOAA Fisheries, evaluates each fishery disaster request based primarily on data submitted by the requesting state or tribe. A declared fishery disaster must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and/or the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. For example, there must be commercial fishery economic impacts and declines in fishery access or biomass resulting from specific allowable causes due to the fishery disaster event. 

The Secretary found that the following fisheries met the requirements for a fishery disaster determination:

●     2019 Norton Sound Red King Crab in Alaska

●     2019/2020 Peconic Bay Scallop in New York

●     2018 Port Gamble S’Klallam Puget Sound Coho Salmon in Washington

●     2019 Chehalis and Black River Spring Chinook Salmon in Washington 

Positive determinations make these fisheries eligible for disaster assistance from NOAA.They may also qualify for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration. The Department of Commerce has balances remaining from previously appropriated fishery disaster assistance and will determine the appropriate allocation for these disasters.

The Secretary also determined, working with NOAA Fisheries, that red tides in Florida did not cause a fishery disaster for Florida fisheries between 2018 and 2019.

Learn more about fishery disaster assistance.

Media contact

Kate Goggin, kate.goggin@noaa.gov, (202) 924-5114