Government releases $53 million for salmon disaster

The Commerce Department has released $53 million to Oregon and California to help West Coast salmon fishermen after the third fishery failure in four years.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke made the announcement today in a letter to the governors of the two states. Locke said continued low returns to the Sacramento River in California have led to the latest disaster.

Locke released $53 million in unspent money from a disaster declared last year. His decision opens the way for Congress to allocate more money for salmon fishermen. Congress appropriated $170 million in 2008 and $60 million in 2006.

Salmon fishing for chinook, also known as king salmon, has been closed for months off California and most of Oregon due to dangerously low returns to the Sacramento.

— The Associated Press

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