January 22, 2004

Wyden, Smith Secure $100 Million for Oregon Groundfish, Salmon Recovery Efforts

Congress approves funds to help West Coast fisheries, boost economic growth

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) today announced final approval of more than $100 million for West Coast groundfish and salmon recovery efforts. Oregon will receive a significant portion of this money, which was included in the omnibus spending measure that will now be signed into law by the president. "Oregon's fishing communities are part of our heritage and an important part of our state's economic future," said Wyden. "This investment will help preserve that heritage for the years ahead." "Improving the ability of our fishing families and communities to better contribute to the state's general economy is essential," said Smith. "This bill is a great commitment to an integral Oregon industry." The omnibus spending measure includes $5 million for management of the West Coast groundfish fishery, as well as funding for these additional programs: • $5,000,000 for the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program - The West Coast Groundfish Observer Program is an essential effort to help quantify total catch in the West Coast groundfish fishery. When West Coast fishers bring in too much bycatch - species of fish they don't intend to catch - the fishery can be shut down for a time. These funds will pay for observers to gather more accurate data on bycatch amounts to prevent premature shutdowns of the fishery. • $1,000,000 for West Coast Groundfish Cooperative Research - Cooperative research on the West Coast has successfully included fishers in stock surveys and fishery management. Fishers benefit from the use of their boats in this research, and the research is enhanced by the fishers' expertise. These funds will support cooperative research projects to collect data for stock assessments and complement the current research being used for West Coast groundfish fisheries management. • $90,000,000 for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, of which Oregon will receive $13,133,000 - These funds are used to support habitat restoration, data collection, evaluation and monitoring at the local watershed level - exercises critically important to salmon recovery and habitat restoration. • $1.5 million for the Oregon Trawl Commission to help West Coast shrimp fishery more aggressively market their products and develop new markets. • $1.5 million for the Oregon State University Seafood Laboratory. Columbia River hatcheries will share more than $16.5 million for facility improvements, monitoring, and evaluation. These hatchery programs help support a $60 million recreational fishery in the Northwest. A portion of these funds will also be used to maintain and install fish screens throughout the Basin.