Oregon Lawmakers Urge Declaration of Fishery Disaster

A delegation of Oregon leaders ⁠— including Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader, and Peter DeFazio — wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging them to declare a catastrophic regional fishery disaster. Three years of drought in a row have severely impacted the Pacific Northwest’s salmon populations.  

The Chinook salmon population has been steadily losing value, going from $6.3 million annually from 2013-2017 to $1.4 million in 2020.  

“[T]he challenging impacts of climate change, increased drought, and changing ocean conditions complicate the recovery of salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest,” lawmakers wrote. “Federal support for this industry is critical while local, state, and federal partners continue to work toward long-term solutions.”   

“In addition to the economic activity generated by this industry, salmon are an important part of the cultural heritage of Pacific Northwest tribes, generate recreational activity, and are a treasured natural resource across the state.” 

A full copy of the letter can be read here. 

By Jalen Todd