Press Releases

Washington, DC – The Fiscal Year 2007 Emergency Supplemental bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today includes $60.4 million for salmon fishermen, tribes, and related businesses in California and Oregon impacted by last year’s fishery failure on the Klamath River, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) announced.

“This was the largest commercial salmon fishery failure in U.S. history, and has caused hardship for hundreds of California families,” Senator Feinstein said.  “There were 1,042 salmon trollers in the affected area, and this funding will go to help the thousands of fishermen whose livelihoods have been taken away.”

Senator Boxer said, “Our coastal communities have waited long enough for the disaster assistance they need because of last year’s near total closure of the salmon fishing season.  Today, we are one step closer to providing salmon fishermen, businesses, and their families the financial help they need to stay afloat.  Now, we will work non-stop to get this relief package over the finish line.” 

In August 2006, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez’s declared a Commercial Fisheries Failure off the coasts of California and Oregon.  This was only the second time ever that the Secretary of Commerce declared a commercial fishery failure before the fishing season has ended, which underscores the magnitude of the disaster. 

According to the Secretary’s declaration, the harvest of the commercial salmon fishery in California and Oregon was expected to plummet by 88 percent from the recent annual average, and ex-vessel revenue is expected to drop by 84 percent. 

Early data suggest that fishing will likely remain closed for the 2007 season as well.

“The continued closure through 2007 could further devastate our coastal communities that are largely dependent upon this industry.  This funding will provide a measure of relief,” Senator Feinstein said.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council closed commercial salmon fishing in August 2006 along more than 400 nautical miles of coast, stretching from Florence, Oregon to Pigeon Point, California. 

The Council took such a drastic step because for the third consecutive year, the number of naturally spawning Klamath River Chinook salmon is expected to fall below the conservation floor called for in the fishery management plan for salmon. 

Senator Feinstein is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.