Oregon politicians optimistic federal fishing disaster declaration will help state



(The Center Square) – The Oregon fishing industry will soon receive federal support. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently determined that a commercial fishing failure in 2018, 2019 and 2020 occurred due to a fishery resource disaster. The incident negatively impacted Oregon Chinook Salmon Fisheries.

As a result, these fisheries will be eligible for funding from available fishery disaster appropriations to “aid in the recovery of affected communities, restore the fishery, and/or prevent future disasters,” a release from the Oregon Governor’s office said.

“This determination is incredible news for commercial fishers who have been waiting for years to find out whether or not they can receive support from the federal government,” Oregon Governor Kotek said. “This is a result of the work of Governor Brown and our congressional delegation to recognize and advocate for Oregon’s commercial fisheries. I am also hopeful for a future determination for our recent fisheries disaster declaration request.”

Members of the state’s Congressional delegation also offered support for the decision from the Department of Commerce.

“Oregon’s fishing industry is essential to our state’s economy and creates good-paying jobs our communities rely on,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon said. “This federal disaster declaration the Oregon delegation pushed for recognizes the significant toll of declining salmon populations on our fishermen, and it cements our commitment to investing in the long-term recovery of Oregon’s coastal communities.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, expressed a similar sentiment. He added that the fishing industry supports jobs in the state.

“Oregonians living and working on the coast know full well how crucial the fishing industry is to job growth and their communities’ economic well-being,” Wyden said. “Coastal fishing’s impact also ripples out statewide, and I’m gratified the federal Commerce Department has agreed to the delegation’s request for a fishery disaster declaration that will help support this iconic and productive Oregon industry.”

NOAA Fisheries will notify potential award recipients about their funding eligibility in the coming weeks. It will also offer them guidance on developing applications for federal monetary assistance.

The commercial value of Chinook salmon from 2013 to 2017 was about $6.3 million annually. However, the value plummeted in 2018, 2019, and 2020; it bottomed out at $1.4 million in 2020.



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