U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, got $20 million added to a key House Appropriations bill for salmon fisheries assistance that provides assistance to a variety of tribal fisheries.
Several fisheries received fisheries disaster designation from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce this season after unusual ocean and climate conditions caused a severe drop in the amount of fish people were able to catch.
Fisheries receiving disaster designation: Quinault Nation coho salmon fishery; Makah Nation and Elwha Klallam Tribe sockeye salmon fisheries; Nisqually Indian Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and Squaxin Island Tribe salmon fisheries; Quileute Tribe Dungeness crab fishery; Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay non-treaty coho salmon fishery; ocean salmon troll fishery.
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The commercial and recreational fishing industry in Washington state supports more than 67,000 jobs and contributes more than $300 million in revenue, according to the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency leading the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound.
If included in the final federal budget, the funds would be distributed by NOAA to assist those affected by the fisheries disaster.
“This investment mean jobs,” Kilmer said in an announcement of the funding. “Declines in salmon runs have impacted our communities – everyone from the worker at the bait and tackle shop to the folks running a boat. Now, we are taking concrete steps to actually get the resources our region needs to restore our runs and keep the economy moving forward.”
Herrera Beutler added, “A lot of hardworking folks along our coastal communities have been impacted by the fishery disasters – fishing guides, commercial and charter fleets, resorts, and other local businesses that depend on a healthy fishing industry. It’s important that we assist communities where livelihoods rely on our fisheries when a disaster is declared.”