Oregon delegation approves fishery disaster assistance

Oregon senators and representatives announced October 13 that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined a fishery disaster for in-state salmon fisheries.

This decision allows local fishermen eligible to apply for long overdue disaster assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There is currently fishery disaster assistance through the Department of Commerce. According to the department, funds from will be allocated soon. However, federal resources will help the state’s coastal economies recover from years of drought, changing ocean conditions, and critical habitat loss affecting the salmon.

“Sustainable fishing off of the Oregon Coast provides good paying jobs and is a major economic boon for Oregon’s economy. However our fishermen need support to get through these bad years for Oregon Chinook salmon. A federal disaster declaration will provide much-needed relief and I’ll keep working to get more resources back to Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District,” says Hoyle.

Declining salmon populations have been impacting the commercial value of Chinook salmon. From 2013 to 2017, Chinook salmon was valued around $6.3 million annually for Oregon fisheries. Impacts to the climate caused the value to fall from $2.3 million in 2018, to $2 million in 2019, an $1.4 million in 2020.

“Oregon’s fishing industry is essential to our state’s economy and creates good-paying jobs our communities rely on,” says Merkley. “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.”

“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,” says Wyden. “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.”

Senator Merkley, in response, led the delegation with a series of letters to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, outlining the industry’s need for federal support and working long-term solutions.