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Rep. Geran Tarr works with Oregon, Washington officials to promote Pacific Northwest salmon
JUNEAU – State representatives from three states are introducing resolutions and a joint memorial this week to recognize 2019 as International Year of the Salmon.
By declaring this year International Year of the Salmon, organizations around the world will work collaboratively on salmon research and outreach around the theme of “salmon and people in a changing world.” In Alaska, House Resolution 8 was read across during a floor session on Wednesday.
Rep. Geran Tarr of Alaska, Rep. Debra Lekanoff of Washington, and Rep. Ken Helm of Oregon are working on the initiative in concert with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.
The health of salmon populations across the Northern Hemisphere vary, but even the strongest populations face threats from humans and the changing environment. Scientists still have much to learn about salmon life cycles, the impacts of a warming climate, and increased development.
“Subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries are critically important to the culture and economy of countless communities along the West Coast,” Representative Tarr said. “However, many salmon runs are struggling, and it is more important than ever that we work collaboratively to do the research needed to ensure this vital resource is protected for generations to come.”
Representative Helm, a lifelong fisherman, and champion of the Oregon resolution said, “Salmon are integral to our economy, ecosystems, and culture, and recognition of those benefits transcends politics and geography. I’m proud to be part of this overwhelmingly bi-partisan, multi-state effort to support healthy wild salmon populations.”
“Salmon are essential to values, cultures and economies across the Pacific Northwest,” said Representative Lekanoff, who was born in Yakutat. “Washington state stands together with all Tribes, honors the Tribal treaties, and joins with our neighbors in Alaska and Oregon to recognize the International Year of the Salmon. We will continue to invest in policies focused on the recovery of salmon across our region.”
Wild salmon are shared resource along the West Coast. In 1985, after many years of negotiation, the Pacific Salmon Treaty was signed, setting long-term goals for the benefit of the salmon in the United States and Canada. Salmon do not know geographic boundaries, and it is important that the Pacific Northwest works together to better understand and ensure we continue to sustain, commercial, sport and subsistence fishing.
International Year of the Salmon events and projects include dam removal in Maine, high seas research in the Gulf of Alaska, and river cleanup projects in Northern Ireland.