April 30, 2009

Wyden Statement on Approval of $53 Million in Salmon Disaster Relief for Oregon Coastal Communities

Washington, D.C. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden issued the following statement today following Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's announcement that he was making $53 million available to communities in Oregon and Washington affected by the loss of the 2009 salmon season.

"The Secretary of Commerce made exactly the right decision in declaring this year's salmon season a continuation of the disastrous season Oregon faced in 2008. Secretary Gary Locke's designation ensures that $53 million in unspent funds left over from the 2008 declaration will be made available to affected fishing communities in Oregon and California in 2009. This money will help keep fishing families afloat in the short term until the Obama administration's efforts to improve fish runs pay off.

Earlier this month, I joined with the six members of the Oregon delegation in making Secretary Locke aware of the economic impact the loss of commercial and recreational salmon fishing would have on communities south of Cape Falcon. We let Secretary Locke know that the closure would result in a $60 million loss in personal income, not including the additional impact on the retail sector, including boat repair and sales. Secretary Locke's timely and appropriate response is a clear indication of how fishing communities in Oregon, Washington and California will benefit from having a Commerce secretary from the West Coast who is familiar with their issues."