Feds declare salmon disaster for Wash. tribes

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has declared the Fraser River sockeye salmon run a “fishery disaster” for nine tribes and non-tribal fishers in Washington state.

The Fraser River empties out near Vancouver, British Columbia. The sockeye salmon from that river are a key resource for the state and tribal fishing industries in Washington.

The Fraser River sockeye salmon runs are worth more than $4 million each year, and they’ve been in decline for 30 years. The fishery was closed altogether in 2013.

Fisheries managers blame the decline on poor ocean conditions, warm river temperatures and habitat decline, among other things.

Tuesday’s disaster declaration empowers Congress to allocate money for fishermen and fishing communities that are affected by the crash.

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