REP. MIKE THOMPSON LEADS BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO REJECT AMENDMENT THAT WOULD HARM PACIFIC COAST SALMON
Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Wild Salmon Caucus, last night with Republican Rep. Don Young (AK-At Large) led representatives in rejecting an amendment to H.R. 5326, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Commerce, Justice and Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, that would harm Pacific Coast salmon. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10), would have eliminated $15 million from Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds (PCSRF). The amendment was struck down by bipartisan vote of 239-168. The bill would fund PCSRF at $65 million for FY2013.
“A strong salmon population is an important component of a strong economy,” said Thompson. “The PCSRF has been tremendously successful in rehabilitating salmon and by cutting the fund by more than 23 percent would devastate salmon recovery and kill local jobs.”
“Alaskans know firsthand the economic benefits of a strong fishing industry,” said Young. “By helping to rehabilitate salmon populations across America, these recovery funds go a long way in building and maintaining healthy fishing industries. I was happy to see that my colleagues recognized this last night and rejected this misguided amendment in a bipartisan manner.”
The PCSRF was established by Congress in 2000 to restore, conserve, and protect Pacific salmon and steelhead and their habitats. PCSRF also seeks to maintain the healthy populations necessary for exercising tribal treaty fishing rights and native subsistence fishing.
With funding from the PCSRF, states and tribes have undertaken 10,214 projects, which have resulted in significant changes in habitat conditions and availability, as well as the establishment of planning and monitoring programs that support prioritization and tracking for salmon and steelhead population conservation.
The salmon industry is important to California’s economy. When the salmon industry was shut down in 2008 it was found that the salmon industry contributed $1.7 billion to California’s economy and 23,000 jobs were lost. Studies show that if salmon could be fully recovered it could contribute up to $5 billion to California’s economy and create 94,000 jobs.
With the help of the PCSRF, there have been significant improvements from 2000 to 2011 including:
• 879,194 acres of habitat improved or added for salmonid use
• 5,336 miles of stream made accessible to spawning populations
• Marking programs tagging 238,643,775 fish, improving stock identification and supporting more effective fishery management practices.
• Biologists are predicting that as many as 820,000 fish - the most in at least seven years - will return to spawn in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta this year.
• The California King Salmon Fishery is open for the first time in four years.
In 2010, 787,740 pounds of salmon were caught in U.S. waters, totaling 11 percent of all fish captured that year, and generating more than $554 million dollars.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the Counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and Yolo. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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