COOS BAY, Ore. – Hundreds of salmon fishermen rallied on the Oregon Coast on Monday, calling for federal disaster relief to help them weather a fishing closure brought on by declining spawning success in the troubled Klamath River.
About 400 fishermen and their supporters turned out on the Coos Bay Board Walk, where Oregon Democrats Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. Darlene Hooley said legislation would be introduced following the April recess to provide disaster assistance for salmon fishermen as well as money to improve spawning success on the Klamath. Another 100 people rallied in Newport, aides said.
“Four years ago when they were diverting water out of the Klamath River to try to provide something for the farms in a drought year, a very generous package (for farmers) was forthcoming,” from Congress, said DeFazio. “We feel fishers are farmers of the sea. You’re putting food on the table, too.”
Following strong direction from NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that overseas salmon restoration and ocean fisheries voted last week to practically shut down commercial salmon fishing along 700 miles of coast off Oregon and California. The decision still must be approved by the secretary of Commerce.