Salmon Fishery Disaster Relief Can’t Come Soon Enough – Is $20.6M Enough to Save Salmon Families?

Statement from Scott Artis, Executive Director of Golden State Salmon Association, regarding NOAA’s announcement on the allocation of $20.6 million to address a fishery resource disaster that occurred in the 2023 Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook ocean and inland salmon fisheries.

“It’s been a long time coming and an even longer wait for all those salmon families who’ve been struggling each day to make ends meet. I’m glad to see NOAA has approved funding to keep this process rolling as quickly as possible – getting funding to affected salmon families is critical. Unfortunately, the $20.6 million in relief is a far cry from the $45 million requested by California last year. And it is a staggering decrease from the more than $60 million in relief that was distributed to commercial and charter fishermen and women, processors and Sacramento River guides in 2008. This news is a mixed bag. On one hand, relief funds are desperately needed. On the other, it’s forty-five percent of what was needed and requested. This is so emblematic of what the fishing industry has had to endure and just one more reminder, a twist of the knife in the open wound, of our devastated salmon fishery.”

“In the coming weeks or month, State agencies will release bad salmon population numbers from the 2023 spawning season. Those numbers are the result of the Governor’s salmon plan for the past 5 years. If Governor Newsom wants to avoid future State fishery disasters and prevent the extinction of salmon families, he needs to put an end to extreme water diversions and new projects like the Delta Tunnel that divert vast quantities of cold water from California’s rivers and the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It’s not hard to spot the problem. Hot water temperatures lethal to salmon eggs and inadequate flows are killing our largest salmon runs.”