Wyden, Merkley Announce Oregon Coastal Fisheries Receive Federal Disaster Aid Declaration

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that federal officials have determined the Klamath River fall Chinook salmon fisheries in Oregon and California qualified as disasters in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The Oregon senators noted that the disaster determination by the Commerce Department is a significant development because it opens up the opportunity for federal disaster aid from the National Marine Fisheries Service in the 2018 omnibus spending bill that Congress must pass.

“This disaster declaration marks the first important step in the work to provide much-needed relief for these Oregon fisheries and the communities that benefit from the jobs they create,” Wyden said. “I will be pressing hard with Senator Merkley to make sure the final step now happens — securing federal aid to help these fisheries recover.”

“Our coastal communities have suffered severe economic distress as salmon populations decline, closing the coast to commercial fishing,” Merkley said. “That’s why I used my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for $20 million to help communities recover from fisheries disasters and why we’ve been pushing for this disaster declaration. With this declaration, Oregon’s coastal economy can access that funding and can begin to recover.”

In the wake of dwindling Klamath River salmon runs and suspension of salmon fishing on 200 miles of coastline between Humbug Mountain, Oregon and Humboldt South Jetty, California, Wyden and Merkley had written the Trump administration in March 2018 asking for a response on their then-nine-month-old request for a decision on the fisheries disaster declaration.

A web version of this release is available here.