Oregon Gov. Asks Commerce Dept. for Expedited Fisheries Disaster Declaration

Image: U.S. Department of Commerce.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek is asking the Department of Commerce for an expedited declaration of a federal fishery resource disaster, in the wake of a federal fisheries managers’ recommendation to close all commercial ocean fisheries for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to the California border.

Due to recent droughts, returns of Chinook salmon to the Sacramento and Klamath rivers are expected to be very low this year. Anticipating drought-related impacts on salmon spawning, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is expected to close commercial ocean fisheries for Chinooks from Cape Falcon on the north Oregon coast to the California border through August.

Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have forecast an 82% reduction in the ex-vessel value of commercial troll fisheries in this area, compared to the recent five-year average, as a result of the anticipated closures.

Kotek noted the how vital salmon are to Oregon’s natural resources economy, and their cultural, subsistence and economic benefits to Oregon tribes. Given that, the governor said, she is committed to working with federal partners to ensure that Oregon’s fisheries and impacted communities get the resources they need to deal with this economic challenge.