Kilmer, Herrera Beutler Successfully Add Funding for Fishery Disasters in Washington state to Key Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) successfully added $20 million for fishery disasters in Washington state to a key House Appropriations Bill. The U.S. Department of Commerce in January issued multiple fishery disaster declarations in Washington state.

The commercial fishery failures impacted communities along the Olympic Peninsula and Southwest Washington. The announcement cleared the way for additional resources to be brought in to help mitigate the economic distress felt by these communities and support efforts to restore salmon runs, but up to this point, no funding had been approved by Congress.

"This investment means jobs,” said Kilmer. “Declines in salmon runs have impacted our communities – everyone from the worker at the bait and tackle shop to the folks running a boat. Now, we are taking concrete steps to actually get the resources our region needs to restore our runs and keep the economy moving forward.”

“A lot of hardworking folks along our coastal communities have been impacted by the fishery disasters – fishing guides, commercial and charter fleets, resorts, and other local businesses that depend on a healthy fishing industry,” said Herrera Beutler. “It’s important that we assist communities where livelihoods rely on our fisheries when a disaster is declared.”

The disaster declarations the members previously pushed for include: 2015-2016 Quileute Tribe Dungeness crab, 2015 Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay coho salmon, and 2015 Quinault Indian National Grays Harbor coho salmon. Fishing communities have been eligible for investments in projects that could encourage fishery recovery and job training, among other initiatives.

The commercial and recreational fishing industry in Washington state alone supports over 67,000 jobs and contributes over $300 million in revenue. The fishing and processing industry in Pacific County contributes over $150,000,000 to the local economy. In Grays Harbor County, the 2015 landing for Westport totaled more than 80 million pounds and was valued at roughly $65 million.

The members originally called for the declarations in letters to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker last December.