The Senate stripped $81 million in disaster relief aimed at helping salmon fishermen in Oregon and California from the emergency appropriations bill last night, May 4, 2006. In response, Kristen Boyles of Earthjustice issued the following statement.
“There is no other word than ‘disaster’ for this crisis, which threatens the coastal fishing industry in Oregon and California. It is not a disaster caused by fishermen or fishing regulations -- it’s the result of willful federal mismanagement of the Klamath River. The fishermen -- and the tackle shops, restaurants, and other businesses that will be hurt by the near-elimination of the fishing season this year -- need and deserve federal help. Our hearts go out to them. Some dollars should too.
“The fishermen are bearing the brunt now because Klamath salmon stocks need time to rebuild themselves, if the fishing industry is to survive and thrive once again. We must act so that the fishermen don’t suffer in vain. The key is to reform irrigation practices in the Klamath Basin to ensure that there is always enough water in the river to sustain the fish and to remove the salmon-blocking Klamath River dams.”