Governor Sean Parnell declared an economic disaster on Thursday for Saint Lawrence Island after a low walrus harvest.
According to the Governor’s office, extreme ice and wind conditions reduced this year’s harvest to 36 percent of the prior ten-year average.
The community is located in the Bering Sea about 164 miles west of Nome.
People living on Saint Lawrence Island have hunted walruses as a critical subsistence food source and carved walrus ivory has been a significant regional economic driver.
Disaster funds must be appropriated by the Alaska Legislature and the governor may recommend acceleration of capital projects planned for the area and funding of new projects.
“We will work closely with community members and leaders to ensure residents receive the assistance they need in the coming year,” Governor Parnell said in statement issued Friday.
Contact Neil Torquiano