SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is requesting disaster relief from the federal government for the state’s strained commercial salmon industry.
The governor submitted the formal aid request this week to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Brown wrote that the economic return from commercial salmon fishing along most of the coast since 2018 has been less than one-third of what it was in previous years. She said the trend is having severe effects on already distressed rural communities and businesses that depend on salmon.
“While economic assistance will be essential to address the impacts of closures and restrictions on our salmon fisheries, it is vitally important that federal, state, tribal, and local governments continue to work together to recover and restore salmon populations and develop management strategies to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of our salmon fisheries,” she said in the letter.
State Rep. David Gomberg, D-Otis, is the chair of the Oregon Legislature’s Oregon Coastal Caucus, which urged Brown to seek disaster aid. If the relief money comes through, Gomberg said it will help buy time while longer-term solutions are worked out.
“The problem here is pretty straight forward. We got diminished stream flows, we got warming waters, we got ocean acidification and hypoxia,” he said.
There is no timeline for when the U.S. Department of Commerce might make its decision.