Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation are urging U.S. Commerce Secretary Rina Raimondo to expeditiously approve a request from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for a catastrophic regional fishery disaster declaration for Oregon’s ocean commercial salmon fishery.
The delegation noted in its Oct. 21 letter to Raimondo that federal aid is urgently needed to mitigate negative impacts of three consecutive years of steep declines in revenue generated by this fishery and to provide support to communities that were economically impacted.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, the commercial ex-vessel value of Chinook salmon in these waters was $2.3 million, $2.0 million and $1.4 million respectively, a significant decrease from the average 2013-2017 value of $6.3 million, they said. In addition to the economic activity generated by the commercial salmon fishery in Oregon, the salmon are important to the cultural heritage of Pacific Northwest tribes, generate recreational activity and are a treasured natural resource statewide, they added.
But the Chinook salmon face challenging impacts of climate change, increased drought and changing ocean conditions, which complicates efforts for recovery of salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest, making federal support for this industry critical, while local, state and federal partners continue their work toward long term solutions, they said.
The letter was signed by Senators Jeffrey Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Peter DeFazio. All are Democrats.