Time running out for Alaska salmon fishermen to receive benefits, compensation
2,000 eligible fishermen may be left out unless they attend workshop
ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Across Alaska, only about half the number of eligible salmon fishermen have attended workshops needed to clear them to receive federal financial compensation and other benefits as a result of lost income due to low salmon prices caused by imports of farmed salmon.
Some 4,400 Alaska salmon fishermen are eligible to receive benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But thus far, only about 2,400 fishermen have attended workshops needed to complete their TAA application. That leaves 2,000 fishermen who, if they don't act quickly, could be left out of the program.
"We want to see every eligible fishermen take advantage of this program," said Torie Baker, TAA technical assistance coordinator. "The TAA program provides financial compensation, educational and training benefits. Eligible fishermen have to attend a one-hour workshop, and we are trying to deliver as many as possible directly to their communities."
Attendance at a workshop aimed at providing technical assistance to fishermen is mandatory to complete their application. Since January, the University of Alaska Marine Advisory Program has developed and delivered over 70 workshops to communities throughout the state. Additional workshops are planned, but MAP organizers say time is running out.
"As the final deadline of June 30, 2004, approaches, it will be more difficult to meet the needs of all applicants," said Bill Hall, trade adjustment specialist with MAP.
living in Alaska are urged to contact the Marine Advisory Program at
1-888-788-6333 or visit the workshop Web site at www.taaworkshops.org to
learn about workshops scheduled for their communities. In Anchorage
call 786-6328. Eligible fishermen living out of state must complete
their workshops by April 20, 2004. They can obtain workshop schedules
by calling Washington State University Extension at 1-800-477-4012.