Parnell Declares Economic Disaster for Island

Gov. Sean Parnell has declared an economic disaster for residents living on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.

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by Associated Press

JUNEAU- Gov. Sean Parnell has declared an economic disaster for residents living on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.
Parnell made the declaration because of a historically low walrus harvest.
He says only 340 walrus were taken during the spring harvest, or 36 percent of the average for the last 10 years.
In a letter to legislative leaders, he says carved walrus ivory is a significant regional economic driver for island residents, and walrus is also an important subsistence food.
Alaska law doesn't allow any immediate access to emergency funds. But Parnell says the Legislature may appropriate funds for assistance grants. The state is also researching possible aid programs for residents.