June 09, 2017

Wyden, Harris, Merkley, Feinstein Call for Disaster Aid for Oregon and California Fisheries

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s and California’s senators in a letter today to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called for a federal salmon fishery disaster declaration for both states to support economic recovery for coastal communities.

The letter from Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein follows a request from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Jerry Brown for the federal government to issue a fisheries disaster declaration to provide economic relief for the loss of coastal jobs due to declining salmon populations.

Salmon are a vital part of our region’s history, economy and culture,” the senators wrote in the letter today. “This disaster declaration will provide a much needed safety net to keep fishermen in business, communities afloat, and the industry open for business until salmon stocks are restored.”

The West Coast’s commercial salmon industry is an integral part of the coastal economy, providing local jobs and revenue and fueling tourism. In recent years, both Oregon and California have experienced a significant drop in salmon populations.

Continued decline in salmon populations has had devastating impacts on fishing communities along the Oregon and California coasts. Half of Oregon’s coast will be closed to commercial fishing for the 2017 salmon season because of declining salmon populations. In California, about 130 miles of coastline is expected to be closed off to commercial and recreational fishing this year.

Federal aid through a disaster declaration is a necessary step toward protecting good-paying jobs and vital fishing industries in both states.

Read the full letter here.