There are nine declared fisheries disasters in WA, AK, and CA, with other disasters pending official designation
Request comes as Congress weighs relief package for U.S. communities affected by hurricanes and wildfires
(Washington, D.C.) – Washington Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and a bipartisan group of senators representing Alaska, Oregon, and California called on their colleagues to include disaster funding for coastal communities affected by fisheries disasters as part of any disaster relief package that moves through Congress. In the letter, the eight senators – Murray, Cantwell as well as Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) – noted that as of this month, Congress has yet to address nine fisheries disasters, with several other disasters pending official declaration. The impact of these declarations includes approximately $117 million in Washington state, $150 million in Alaska, and $140 million in California.
The senators urged swift action to provide emergency funding to communities that depend on resilient, sustainable, and healthy fisheries, highlighting how important the industry is to local economies and native communities, writing: “In Pacific coastal states, fisheries support a diverse hub of commerce including shipbuilders, hotels, restaurants, and vessel support services among others. Prolonged diminished returns in 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.” The senators continued: “The longer these disasters go unaddressed, the more precarious the situation becomes for communities and families impacted.”
Read the letter in full below, or access the PDF here.