At the recommendation of Oregon’s coastal legislators, Gov. Kate Brown issued a formal request on Oct. 4 to the U.S. Department of Commerce for federal disaster relief for Oregon’s commercial salmon industry. This request comes in response to diminished salmon landings for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons

The Coastal Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of Oregon’s coastal legislators, worked in conjunction with the Oregon Salmon Commission to pursue this request.

In response to the governor’s letter, Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis), the Coastal Caucus chair, said, “Salmon landings in Oregon have fallen from $14 million in 2014 to $1.5 million in 2020. The salmon industry is reeling, and the Oregon Salmon Commission asked coastal legislators for help. I’m pleased the governor is lending her support to the hardworking men and women of our commercial salmon industry and our coastal economy.”

In her letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Brown stated, “Salmon are a vital component of Oregon’s natural resources and provide significant commercial, recreational, economic and aesthetic benefits to the state. Salmon are also highly valued by Native American tribes for cultural, subsistence and economic benefits. 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.”

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. Salmon landings in both 2018 and 2019 sit at $2.4 million and $2.1 million respectively, far below the 2016 season, which was declared a disaster at a fleet-wide $4.3 million.

The Oregon Legislative Coastal Caucus includes bipartisan representatives and senators from coastal districts from Astoria to Brookings. In addition to Gomberg, members include Sen. Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City) vice-chair, Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), Sen. Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg), Rep. Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook), Rep. Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay) and Rep. David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

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