Alaska increases estimate of salmon disaster

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s Commerce commissioner says the disaster from poor king salmon returns was worse than first estimated.

In a letter to the state’s congressional delegation, Susan Bell says commercial fishery permit holders lost an estimated $16.8 million in direct revenue.

She says that doesn’t include the economic effect on crew members who help harvest salmon, or processors and support businesses. She says it also doesn’t include account for revenue lost by communities from fish and sales tax.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in September declared king salmon fisheries a disaster in several watersheds. The declaration covered the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, which flow into the Bering Sea, and the Cook Inlet region south of Anchorage, which includes the Kenai River.

The declaration made commercial fishermen eligible for federal disaster relief.

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