December 06, 2006

Salmon Fisheries Failure DeclaredEfforts turn to securing funding

Portland, OR - U.S. Department of Commerce officials met with Oregon salmon fishermen today and declared a salmon fisheries failure. The declaration reinforces Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden's (D-OR) efforts to secure direct aid for the fishermen.

"Oregon's fishermen now have priority for aid," Smith said. "The declaration clears the way for federal funds to be distributed to the fishermen and businesses supported by salmon fishing. I am going to continue pressing the federal purse for aid. The salmon industry must be sustained to maintain the vitality of the local economy. Commerce officials meeting with the fishermen and seeing the closure's impact helped make the case for the declaration crystal clear."

"This disaster declaration paves the way for Congress to provide critical financial aid to the fishermen and small businesses devastated by the closure of the salmon fishery," Wyden said. "This assistance may make the difference between being able to put groceries on the table or make their mortgage payments. Securing this funding will be a top priority for us when Congress returns in September."

Deputy Secretary of Commerce David A. Sampson and Director of National Marine Fisheries Services Bill Hogarth made the declaration today during a meeting with fishermen in Charleston, OR.

Senators Smith and Wyden have been pressing the U.S. Department of Commerce for months to declare a fisheries failure and distribute aid to the fishermen. To date, the U.S. Senate has agreed to $10 million in aid, however, funding is not final. Senators Smith and Wyden will be working to reconcile the Senate bill with a House of Representatives version that includes $2 million in funding to support the salmon fishermen and impacted businesses. The Senators will continue to press for additional aid until the salmon fishermen have what they need.