In a significant move aimed at aiding the struggling fishing industry in Oregon, Governor Tina Kotek declared a fishing disaster in the state. This decision follows the determination by U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, that a commercial fishery failure took place over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020, specifically impacting Oregon’s Chinook Salmon Fisheries. The disaster declaration was initially sought by former Governor Kate Brown in October 2021.
The effects of this declaration will open the door for federal funding and support, giving a glimmer of hope to the commercial fishing community in the state. Fisheries that have been declared as disasters are now eligible for funding from fishery disaster appropriations, which can be used for community recovery, fishery restoration, and implementing preventive measures against future disasters. In the coming weeks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will notify affected fisheries about their eligibility for this funding.
Governor Kotek expressed her optimism about the declaration’s positive impact on commercial fishers, who have faced uncertainties and challenges in recent years. She highlighted the collaborative efforts of Governor Brown and the state’s congressional delegation in advocating for Oregon’s commercial fisheries. Furthermore, she emphasized that there is ongoing hope for another determination regarding the recent fisheries disaster declaration request, specifically addressing the situation for ocean commercial salmon fisheries in 2023. This request remains active and awaits further assessment by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The state of Oregon boasts a rich fishing heritage and abundant marine resources, including the vital Chinook Salmon population. The fishing industry plays a crucial role in the state’s economy and culture, making it essential to address the challenges that have affected its sustainability. The disaster declaration represents a positive step toward assisting Oregon’s commercial fishers and safeguarding the state’s precious fisheries.