Oregon receives $7 million to address fishing disaster affecting salmon

Oregon receives $7 million to address fishing disaster affecting salmon

UMATILLA, OREGON – JUNE 7: A Chinook salmon, along with a school of shad, pass through the viewing room at McNary Lock and Dam on the Columbia River, June 7, 2005 near Umatilla, Oregon. (Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is set to receive a “lifeline” of $7 million in federal funding to address the state’s fisheries disaster that has affected Chinook salmon, lawmakers announced last week.

Officials said commercial fishermen can apply for disaster funding compensation through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to recover from economic losses between 2018 and 2020, which saw salmon populations decline in Oregon.

From 2013 to 2017, the commercial value of Chinook salmon was approximately $6.3 million annually to Oregon fisheries; However, the impact of climate change on salmon populations has reduced its value to $2.3 million in 2018, $2 million in 2019, and $1.4 million in 2020, state lawmakers reported.

“Oregon’s fishing industry is essential to our state’s economy and creates good-paying jobs that our communities depend on,” Senator Jeff Merkley said in a statement. “The Oregon delegation has pushed for this federal disaster declaration to help our fishermen who are recovering from significant economic losses caused by declining salmon populations. This $7 million in federal funding now available to our fishermen reinforces our commitment to investing in the long-term recovery of the state’s coastal communities.” Oregon.

Additionally, the money will help the Coast recover financially from years of drought, changing ocean conditions, and loss of critical habitat that have hurt local salmon populations, lawmakers said in a news release Friday.

“In my halls, which are open to all, I hear from Oregonians who live and work on the coast and who are directly impacted by the ebb and flow of the fishing industry,” Senator Ron Wyden added in a press release. “Communities along the Oregon Coast know firsthand how important the fishing industry is to their job growth and economic vitality. I am pleased that the Federal Department of Commerce has approved the Governor and delegation’s request to support this distinguished and productive industry in Oregon and I look forward to celebrating this news with anglers in my county town halls Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop next week.

Officials point to the importance of salmon to Oregon’s commercial fishing industry and to the cultural heritage of tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

“It is impossible to overstate the value of salmon to Oregon. This federal disaster declaration will be a lifeline for Oregon’s fishing communities. As we continue to push for the recovery of healthy, abundant salmon populations, it is also an important step forward for for the federal government to fulfill its treaty obligations with the tribes of the Pacific Northwest.”

“This vital industry has suffered a number of setbacks in recent years, and I will continue to work with the Oregon delegation to ensure hunters are able to recover and succeed,” added Rep. Lori Chavez De Remer.

The funding comes after a federal fishing disaster was declared in 2023 at the request of former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in 2021.

Additional efforts by the U.S. Department of Commerce to designate a fisheries disaster in the state in the years following 2020 are continuing — state lawmakers said, noting that includes Oregon Gov. Tina Kotick’s request for a federal fishery resources disaster declaration.

“Salmon are critical to our culture, identity, and economy here in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, climate change, drought, and a whole host of other factors are causing salmon populations to decline every year,” Rep. Andrea Salinas said in a statement. “By announcing that Oregon salmon fisheries will receive $7 million in federal aid to help replace lost revenue, which will be beneficial as we work to find long-term solutions that will address declining salmon populations.”

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