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Good News for Ocean Fishermen

I’ve got good news for Oregon’s coastal communities.

After leading multiple pushes on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide much needed support to fishermen and seafood processors during the coronavirus crisis — and then calls to ensure that Pacific fisheries are not left out of crucial federal assistance programs — I’m pleased to share that the USDA is purchasing $45.9 million in Pacific seafood products. That’s a big win for coastal economies up and down the Pacific coast, for our food supply chains, and for the Oregon families that rely on our fisheries for their livelihoods.

It was a long road to get here. At first, the USDA was barely purchasing seafood products through its procurement programs. And then when it began purchasing more seafood, many of those purchases were concentrated among Atlantic fisheries. Finally, more help is on the way — and I’m grateful to the local leaders and businesses for sharing their experiences and expertise with me throughout this process.

Like so many of Oregon’s businesses and industries, our fisheries have been hit hard by the pandemic. That’s meant Oregonians in our coastal communities have had to stretch their dollars even further to keep the lights on and food on the table for their families.

When our fisheries thrive, our families thrive, and I’m going to keep doing everything I can to support this critical industry as we continue to weather this storm. I’ll be sure to keep sending you updates along the way.

All my best,
Sen. Jeff Merkley

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