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Salmon trollers file for disaster aid for losses
Scott Doggett
 
Commercial salmon fishermen in California and Oregon are seeking federal disaster assistance for expected losses that they blame on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

According to the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Assns., the bureau's reduction of water flows in the Klamath Basin this year caused thousands of young salmon to die.

Salmon trollers from Santa Cruz to Florence, Ore., contend they will lose $100 million in income this summer as a result.

The federation has called on the governors of California and Oregon to support a fisheries disaster declaration from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency that overseas ocean fishing.

California Department of Fish and Game biologists attribute the deaths of the salmon to a number of factors related to low water flows, including gill rot disease and high numbers of parasites.

Farmers, fishermen and others in the Klamath Basin have been battling to win a larger share of the region's limited water supply. In 2001, the fight got more fierce when the bureau directed water away from nearly 1,400 farms to meet Endangered Species Act mandates for fish.

Scott Doggett
 
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