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Secretary Locke Declares Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook

January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed a decision by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke finding that a disaster has occurred with the 2009 Yukon River chinook salmon run, opening the door for federal aid to the area.

"I appreciate Secretary Locke's recognition of the severity of the situation along the Yukon River and the dependence of Alaskans on these salmon runs," Governor Parnell said.

The federal disaster declaration is in response to requests made by Governor Parnell, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives. The request detailed the biological and economic situation on the Yukon River and the impacts of the reduced chinook runs.

The declaration does not bring immediate aid to the affected area. The congressional delegation must still secure a federal appropriation. Federal aid, once secured, could be used for relief programs, stock research, training programs, fisheries infrastructure, or other regional projects.

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