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Still Tough Times for Salmon Fishermen

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  (KCBS) _ The U.S. Commerce Secretary is throwing a lifeline to Northern California's dwindling number of commercial salmon fishermen.

California's commercial salmon fishery has produced drastically reduced runs the last three years, meaning rough times for fishermen like Duncan McClean of Half Moon Bay.

"At least two-thirds of my net income comes from salmon fishing," he said. "When you cut that out completely, that doesn't leave me very much to carry through the year with."

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Salmon fishermen have been receiving federal payments since the fishery was declared a disaster in 2008.

And now, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced he is extending that declaration.

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations Executive Director Zeke Grader said the government support is essential.

"This will help make sure that we will in fact have a fleet and charter boat operations and other businesses that rely on this fishery in the near future," said Grader.

Commercial salmon revenues this year are expected to be down 81 percent compared with the years before the fishery's decline.

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