Federal fishery managers unanimously voted this week to cancel all commercial and recreational salmon fishing in California.| Photo: Michael Humling, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service



From the office of Rep. Jared Huffman:

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries, released the following statement regarding the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s vote to cancel salmon fishing season off the California:

Rep. Jared Huffman 

“Last year’s California’s salmon season closure was a crushing blow for our state. And now we’re facing the unprecedented back-to-back closures of the entire California salmon fishery.  This is a new low – it’s not just devastating, it’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Huffman. “We just finished getting federal approval for last year’s California salmon disaster. I was relieved that with the reforms I’ve passed in Congress and all the political pressure we worked to build, the federal approval process was somewhat faster.  But the amount of disaster money is not nearly enough for the needs of fishermen, tribes, businesses, and families who depend on healthy salmon fisheries – and now we have to start all over again for second consecutive disaster year.
“We must do better. On disaster relief, the state must speed up the process for quantifying impacts and the federal government must approve disaster funds faster and at higher levels. But we must also acknowledge that this scramble for federal fishery disaster funds is not the solution to the terrible downward spiral for California salmon fisheries. The solution is to prevent fishery disasters.  That requires confronting wrongheaded policies that are killing salmon – failing to protect cold water supplies, starving rivers and tributaries of flows salmon need to survive, and over-pumping in the Delta during sensitive times for migrating salmon,” Huffman concluded.
In February of this year, Rep. Huffman secured $20 million in relief funds through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for California’s fishing community. This followed continued pressure from the congressman to secure this relief for the 2023 Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook and inland salmon fisheries disasters.
In April 2023, Huffman, Padilla, and Panetta led their colleagues in an urgent letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, calling for them to swiftly declare a federal fishery disaster. Earlier that month, Rep. Huffman held a press conference with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Representative Kevin Mullin, and fishing industry stakeholders to call attention to this disaster and highlight the people who will bear the brunt of the impacts of closing the salmon season. In addition to regular follow up with NOAA, Rep. Huffman held a call directly with NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad to continue the pressure and encourage him to prompt action.
As part of his long-standing efforts to improve disaster relief for fisheries, Congressman Huffman was able to help secure an additional $300 million for fishery disaster declarations Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Congress also authorized new bipartisan fishery disaster relief language based on Congressman Jared Huffman and Senator Roger Wicker’s Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act. This language streamlines the process for declaring a federal fishery disaster and helps to quickly provide relief to affected communities. It also extends eligibility for federal fishery disaster funds not only to commercial fisheries, but also to charter fishing businesses and impacted tribes.