On Tuesday, the Legislative Coastal Caucus urged Governor Kate Brown to formally request federal disaster relief for Oregon’s commercial salmon industry for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons.
“Oregon’s commercial salmon industry is a cornerstone of our coastal economy. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that the men and women operating our salmon troll vessels and fisheries are given the support they need to contend with the diminished landings of the past three years,” the caucus wrote.
The 2020 fleet-wide salmon landings of approximately $1.5 million in value represents a historic low only surpassed by the results of the season closure in 2009, which saw landing values totaling roughly $345,000. 2018 and 2019, while marginally better years for salmon landings compared to 2020, also saw results far below the 2016 season, which was declared a disaster at a fleet-wide $4.3 million. Salmon landings in both 2018 and 2019 sit at $2.4 million and $2.1 million respectively.
In response to the 2016 and 2017 commercial salmon season, the U.S. Department of Commerce allocated $20 million to 11 west coast fisheries in 2018. The 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons have seen little improvement, with combined salmon landings for the past three years barely exceeding the combined landings of the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
The Coastal Caucus worked together with the Oregon Salmon Commission in presenting the request.
“This is about more than just the preservation of one of Oregon’s most iconic industries. This about the hardworking men and women of our commercial salmon industry who have been harmed by circumstances beyond their control. Our commercial salmon industry needs the reassurance that the State of Oregon and the federal government are willing to lend their support during difficult times.”
The Oregon Legislative Coastal Caucus includes bipartisan representatives and senators from coastal districts from Astoria to Brookings. It is chaired by Representative David Gomberg (D-Otis), Vice-Chair Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), and includes Senators Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) and Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) and Representatives Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook), Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).