January 12, 2018 9:30 a.m.
Both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators are calling on their colleagues to include funding for coastal communities damaged by fisheries disasters as part of any disaster relief package that moves through Congress.
A release from Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley says as of now, Congress has yet to address nine fisheries disasters, with several others pending an official declaration. The senators urged swift action to provide emergency funding to communities that depend on what they call “resilient, sustainable, and healthy fisheries.” They say the industry is important both to local economies and native communities.
In a letter signed by several other northwest lawmakers as well, Wyden and Merkley say “fisheries support a diverse hub of commerce including ship builders, hotels, restaurants, and vessel support services, among others”. The senators claim that prolonged diminished returns of fisheries have “stifled economic development, threatened the financial stability of fishing families dependent upon the industry’s vitality and severely endangered Native American subsistence and ceremonial harvests”. They say that the longer the disasters go unaddressed, “the more precarious the situation becomes for communities and families impacted”.