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Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today called on their colleagues to include funding for coastal communities damaged by fisheries disasters as part of any disaster relief package that moves through Congress.  

In the letter, the senators noted that as of this month, Congress has yet to address nine fisheries disasters, with several other disasters pending official declaration. 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.

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 wrote. “The longer these disasters go unaddressed, the more precarious the situation becomes for communities and families impacted.”

Also signing the letter were Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.  READ FULL TEXT OF LETTER HERE

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