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$2 Million for Areas Affected by Sockeye Disaster

US - The National Marine Fisheries Service is making $2 million available to Northwest Indian country communities and Washington State in response to the commercial fishery failure in Fraser River sockeye salmon.

“The assistance we are announcing today will help tribal and non-tribal fishermen who have been hurt by drastic declines in sockeye salmon runs and harvests that are so important to these communities,” said Jim Balsiger, acting assistant administrator of the fisheries service.

In a report in Indian Country Today, he added, “We encourage the tribes and the state to use this aid to expand their work on salmon habitat restoration, stock enhancement and retraining of fishermen.”

Tribal governments and Washington state will now submit plans to the fisheries service outlining how the funds will be used. Past sockeye landings will be taken into account in determining the amount each entity receives.

This year’s sockeye run came in 30 per cent lower than projected, primarily because conditions in Georgia Strait when the smolts went out to sea last year were not conducive to good survival rates, according to a Pacific Salmon Commission member. Challenges included warmer water left over from the 2006 El Ninõ, resulting in less oxygen and nutrients for smolts.

the Fish Site Editor

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