U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.), and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-Mass.), recently introduced legislation to expand disaster relief to fisheries harmed by tariffs.
Currently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) guidelines used to identify the causes of fishery disasters does not explicitly include tariffs. Wyden’s bill would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Act to require NOAA to evaluate the impacts of duties imposed on American seafood, ensuring the Department of Commerce receives a complete overview of factors affecting a fishery in all fishery disaster declaration designations.
“American businesses are being hit hard by retaliatory tariffs from Trump’s ill-conceived trade agenda," Wyden said. "Fisheries unfortunately are no exception. West Coast seafood is sought after internationally, and Oregonians earning a living in fisheries should be able to command top dollar on the global market, rather than be ensnared in the cross-fire of Trump’s escalating trade war.”
In March of this year, Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-Ore.), secured $2.1 million in federal disaster recovery aid for coastal fisheries in Oregon. Multiple years of drought in California, parasites within the Klamath River Basin and poor ocean conditions led to low returns of the Oregon Klamath River Fall Chinook Salmon Fishery in 2016 and 2017.
Salmon landings fell again in 2018, but Oregon’s commercial fishing industry jumped to a better-than-average level in 2018.
“Good trade policy, when it comes to seafood, gets more of the fish we catch into markets and on tables around the world," Moulten said. "Instead, the president’s trade war is robbing American fishermen of their paychecks and making our grocery store runs more expensive.
“The president's lack of strategy and the uncertainty in our local economy is the perfect storm for local fishermen who are already doing more with less. Until the president ends his misguided trade war, Congress should step up and provide some relief.”