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$500 mn in federal help now available for fishermen hurt by US-China trade war by Eric Stone September 15,2020   |  Source: Alaska's Energy Desk

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s setting aside more than half a billion dollars for fishermen hurt by tariffs associated with the U.S.-China trade war. Some Alaskans are applauding the move, but others worry the program leaves some out.

Jeremy Leighton is a dive fisherman based in Ketchikan. That means he spends as many days as he can looking for sea cucumbers and geoduck clams on the cold, murky seafloor.

He was among the first Alaskans to see the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of Alaska’s geoduck clam harvest is sold to consumers in China. When China locked down as the coronavirus spread, demand for the husky bivalves collapsed and managers closed the market.

Leighton and other fishermen were already facing a tough market — they were looking at a 25% tariff on seafood exported to China.

“So the last year prices dropped since […] the tariffs were put on,” Leighton said.

But it’s not just geoduck fishermen. Frances Leach heads up United Fishermen of Alaska, a fishing industry group.

“China seems to be one of the biggest markets for a lot of our seafood products in Alaska. And not just buying them for consumption, but also processing. We send a lot of seafood over to China to be processed,” Leach said.

Now, Leighton and

 

© 2020 KTOO Public Media

Theme(s): Post Harvest Technology and Trade.

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