SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown and California Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown, Jr. announced Thursday a request to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for a declaration of a catastrophic regional fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure for salmon in their states.
The declaration begins the process for requesting federal aid to assist commercial salmon fishers and salmon-dependent business who continue to suffer from declining salmon populations.
"Salmon are a vital component of Oregon and California’s natural resources and provide significant commercial, recreational, economic, and aesthetic benefits to both states and Native American tribes," said Governor Kate Brown. "Federal assistance, along with continued federal, state, tribal, and local government collaboration, is critical to recover and restore salmon populations and to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of our salmon fisheries and coastal communities.
Since last year in Oregon, ocean salmon fishery restrictions, including full closures in some areas for 2017, have severe effects on already distressed rural communities and and the businesses that depend on these fisheries. Declaring a fishing disaster and commercial fishery failure will begin the process for requesting federal aid to assist these communities during this time of decline.
Oregon ocean salmon fisheries in 2016 were affected by reduced allowable catches of Klamath River fall run Chinoook. While fishing occurred throughout the year in all Oregon waters, commercial opportunity was reduced from past years, resulting in a lower economic return.
Additionally, due to the impacts of climate change and anomalous oceanographic conditions, commercial catches along the Oregon Coast were less evenly distributed than normal.
Recreational salmon fishing is open seasonally along the majority of the Oregon coast, while recreational groundfish and halibut fishing remains open on the entire coast. Information on recreational fishing opportunities can be found at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/index.asp.