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Oregon politicians urge declaration of ‘fishery resource disaster’

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Oregon senators and representatives are urging the Department of Commerce to declare a fishery resource disaster. If the expedited declaration is made, federal aid would become immediately available.

The request comes during a time when Pacific commercial salmon fisheries are expecting an 82% loss in value when compared to the five-year average.

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Val Hoyle and Andrea Salinas submitted the joint request:

“The value of salmon to Oregon cannot be overstated,” the members wrote in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “In addition to the economic activity generated by this industry, salmon are an important part of the cultural heritage of Pacific Northwest tribes and are a treasured natural resource across the state. However, the challenging impacts of climate change, increased drought, changing ocean conditions, and critical habitat loss complicate the recovery of salmon populations along the Pacific Coast. Federal support for this industry is critical while local, state, and federal partners continue work on long-term solutions.”

In addition to the sharp decrease in value, the politicians say the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to close all Oregon commercial ocean fisheries for Chinook salmon through Aug. 2023.

Immediate federal aid would help respond to ongoing losses from low salmon populations and give economic support to affected communities, the senators and representatives say.

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