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Obama Administration Awards $5 million for Yukon Salmon Disaster Assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama administration today awarded $5 million, secured by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to help mitigate the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery failure.

The $5 million, which was released to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, was part of a supplemental appropriations bill signed into law July 29. Murkowski was able to secure the funding as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Commission will distribute the money and new nets to commercial fishermen affected by the fishery failure for the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery.

In 2008, the commercial salmon harvest was 89 percent below the five-year average, and the fishery remained closed through 2009. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke declared a Yukon Chinook salmon fishery failure this past January due to a fishery resource disaster. The $5 million in funding is based on the estimated commercial fishing losses for the 2008 and 2009 fishing seasons.

"Low returns in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery have exacted a heavy toll on the communities that depend on this fishery for their livelihood, and I was pleased to be able to include $5 million in disaster assistance in the 2010 supplemental appropriations bill," said Murkowski.

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