Oregon Governor Kate Brown is asking the federal government for disaster relief for the state’s tense commercial salmon industry.
The governor submitted the official request for assistance to the US Department of Commerce this week, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Brown wrote that the economic return to commercial salmon fishing along most of the coast since 2018 has been less than a third of what it was in previous years. She said the trend is having serious effects on already struggling rural communities and businesses that depend on salmon.
“While economic assistance is 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 Representative David Gomberg, D-Otis, is the chair of the Oregon Coastal Caucus in the Oregon Legislature, which has urged Brown to seek disaster assistance. If the relief money arrives, Gomberg said it would help buy time while longer-term solutions are worked out.
“The problem here is quite simple. We have had reduced stream flows, we have had warming waters, we have had ocean acidification and hypoxia, ”he said.
There is no timeline for when the US Department of Commerce could make its decision.