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Gov’t declares 'disaster' over diseased and dying fish on US West Coast — 'Sudden, unexpected large decreases' in population — Scientists 'mystified… stumped' — Officials' ;Environmental disaster… Devastating… Alarming… Dire' (VIDEO)

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NOAA, Jan 18, 2017 (emphasis added): Pritzker declares fisheries disasters… Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today determined there are commercial fishery failures for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington… these fisheries experienced sudden and unexpected large decreases in fish stock biomass or loss of access due to unusual ocean and climate conditions.

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 18, 2017: [T]he pink salmon… catch sank to dismal lowsIn 2016, the pink salmon harvests… came in woefully under forecast and stumped biologists… The total state harvest was the smallest since the late 1970s State and federal scientists interviewed directly following the poor pink salmon season each emphasized that they were mystified… “I am relieved to see that the Department of Commerce [is]acknowledging the dire situation…” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Spokesman Review, Jan 23, 2017: [T]he region’s fishing communities… have suffered through several years of lower-than-expected catch… “the past few years our salmon runs have been hit hard and dropped to alarmingly low levels…” [said Congressman Derek Kilmer].

Alaska Dispatch News, Jan 26, 2017: After a pitiful return of pink salmon to much of Alaska last summer, a federal disaster declaration was officially announced…

Gov. Jay Inslee’s Request: I respectfully request that you declare a commercial fishery failure due to a fishery resource disaster in Washington State. This request is based upon the failure of coho salmon runs returning to Washington State in 2016… Coho salmon returns to Washington watersheds in 2015 were unexpectedly low due to poor survival during the time these fish spent in marine waters of coastal Washington and the Pacific OceanExpectations for coho returns in 2016 are very poor due to persisting poor conditions in the Pacific

US Dept. of Commerce, Jan 18, 2017: Dear Governor Inslee… Your request relates to the impacts to the 2016 ocean salmon troll fishery as a result of the failure of coho salmon runs returning to Washington State due to unusual environmental conditions in the Pacific Ocean that have led to the poor survival and growth of coho salmon

Gov. Bill Walker’s Request: Districts across the entire area have experienced very poor escapement results, with the Kitoi Hatchery pink salmon return having the lowest survival rate on record… Two out of three Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatcheries are experiencing record low commercial harvests.

US Dept. of Commerce, Jan 18, 2017: Dear Governor Walker… The impacts resulted from poor pink salmon returns due to… unfavorable ocean conditions, freshwater environmental factors, and disease… NMFS Alaska Region looks forward to [a] fishery that can better withstand similar environmental disasters in the future.

Yurok Tribe (California): 2016 Klamath River fall Chinook run is expected to be one of the lowest on record… In light of this commercial fishery closure and its devastating impacts, I am requesting… a commercial fishery disaster… The causes of poor recruitment are associated with poor ocean conditions, drought, Klamath River water quality and fish disease

Watch KTVF’s broadcast here

Published: January 29th, 2017 at 2:24 pm ET