Dear Chairman Obey and Congressman Lewis:
The extremely limited 2010 commercial salmon fishery in California will seriously exacerbate the economic crisis currently facing fishing families and communities in our districts. We seek your assistance in providing much-needed emergency disaster funding.
On September 2nd, at the request of Governor Schwarzenegger, Secretary Locke declared a continuation of the fishery resource disaster and commercial fishery failure for the California salmon fishery. The Governor has certified the California State Depart of Fish and Game's assessment of $62.2 million to respond to the needs of California's fishing communities due to this disaster.
The estimated 14,500 salmon caught by the fishery this year is only about 20% as many as were caught during the 2006 disaster. This year's closure is the result of low predicted numbers of returning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook - considered the driver of wild salmon fisheries in the contiguous United States. The declines in salmon stocks are the result of multiple impacts including federal water management practices in the Sacramento-Bay Delta, ocean conditions, pollution, non-native species, and other factors.
We respectfully request your assistance in providing emergency disaster funding for fishery dependent communities. California's fishing families need additional assistance to survive this limited 2010 season.
Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.