California, Oregon governors seek salmon disaster aid

FILE - In this June 27, 2012, file photo, two sockeye salmon swim in the Columbia River with a Chinook salmon, middle, at the Bonneville Dam fish-counting window near North Bonneville, Wash. A draft report taking a hard look at last summer’s massive die-off of sockeye salmon in the Columbia River Basin says Northwest fisheries managers must respond faster to mitigate future fish kills if similar warm-water conditions return. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown are seeking a federal disaster declaration to help salmon fishermen enduring a second bad year in a row.

A record-low number of fall-run Chinook salmon returning to the Klamath River has led to fisheries restrictions, including the cancellation of the season along a large stretch of coastal southern Oregon and Northern California.

In letter dated Wednesday, the governors asked Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for an expedited declaration of a catastrophic regional fishery disaster, a move necessary for fishing businesses to request federal assistance.

The letter asserts that Oregon’s commercial ocean salmon fisheries are projected to earn 63 percent less revenue than what they averaged from 2012-16. California fisheries are expected to make 72 percent less.

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