Sitka, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Sitka Assembly plan to unveil a resolution on Tuesday declaring an economic disaster due to COVID-19 and poor regional returns of all salmon species.
Mayor Gary Paxton told News of the North that the declaration is also related to sinking prices fish prices on the domestic and international front.
The Sitka Economic Development Association and Silver Bay Seafoods CEO Rich Riggs have been instrumental in pursuing the resolution, Paxton said.
According to the language of the resolution, Sitka's business revenue was down 60% in 2020 through June, compared to the same period in 2019. A recent survey has shown that 22% of respondents said that they are at risk of closing businesses permanently.
And even though the fishing season has not yet concluded, reports from the Commercial Fishing Fleet indicate an abysmal year for salmon returns in the region, along with a significant drop in the prices paid to fishermen by processors.
With the complete cancellation of the summer cruise season, the impact on Sitka is the loss of an estimated 210,400 cruise ship passengers with an estimated loss of $74 million dollars to the local economy.
The resolution will be taken up Tuesday night at the Assembly's regular meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.