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Commerce Department allocates $20.6 million for fishery restoration

The Commerce Department has allocated $20 million to help mitigate the effects of two 2023 fishery disasters in California. Photo by Michael Humling/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Commerce Department has allocated $20 million to help mitigate the effects of two 2023 fishery disasters in California. Photo by Michael Humling/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Commerce Department has allocated $20.6 million to help mitigate the environmental effect of two 2023 fishery disasters in California.

"These funds will help affected California communities recover and improve sustainability," said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

In December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that a disaster had occurred at the Sacramento River Fall chinook fishery and the Klamath River fall chinook.

"A host of factors have pushed these iconic and important fisheries to the point of collapse, including prolonged and historic drought, severe wildfires, impacts to spawning and rearing habitat, harmful algal blooms, and ocean forage shifts and associated thiamine deficiency," California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis said in April.

Kounalakis' office estimated that closing the fisheries would result in financial losses of $45 million.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo (pictured in December) said the newly announced funding "will help affected California communities recover and improve sustainability" after recent fishery disasters in California. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo (pictured in December) said the newly announced funding "will help affected California communities recover and improve sustainability" after recent fishery disasters in California. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI

The NOAA says the funds will be used for infrastructure and habitat restoration, job training, and to obtain vessels.