Federal Assistance for California Salmon Fisheries available in 31 Counties

In an effort to support Californians as they experience climate-driven disasters in all forms, California small businesses affected by a salmon fishery disaster can now apply for federal low-interest loans.  

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) received approval for a requested disaster declaration through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in response to near-historically low salmon population forecasts.  

On April 23, 2023, California acted the close its 2023 salmon season and requested a Federal Fishery Disaster Declaration in response.  

Salmon Fisheries Disaster Declaration 

SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses economically impacted by the California Salmon Fishery Closure 2023 that occurred April 6 – October 31. 

SBA Assistance is available in in 31 counties:  

  • Alameda
  • Amador
  • Contra Costa
  • El Dorado
  • Del Norte
  • Humboldt
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Lake
  • Marin
  • Mendocino
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Placer
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Francisco
  • San Joaquin
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz
  • Shasta
  • Siskiyou
  • Solano
  • Sonoma
  • Sutter
  • Tehama
  • Trinity
  • Yolo

Application Details and Eligibility 

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only, not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for small businesses and 2.375 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship. 

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at SBA.gov/disaster. 

The deadline to apply for economic injury is August 29, 2024. 

The California Small Business Development Centers are offering free, personalized counseling to help affected businesses in their recovery. Business owners may visit https://www.californiasbdc.org/find-your-sbdc/ to locate an SBDC near you. Visitors are encouraged to call first for an appointment. 

Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the date of the first disaster loan disbursement. SBA disaster loan repayment begins 12 months from the date of the first disbursement. 

Environmental Disaster 

On April 6, 2023, California requested a fishery resource disaster in response to near-historically low stock abundance forecasts for the fall Chinook runs of salmon originating from the Sacramento and Klamath rivers. 

Multiple factors have driven these vital fisheries to the brink of collapse, including historical drought, intense wildfires, disturbances to spawning and rearing habitats, detrimental algal blooms and shifts in ocean forage.  

The compounding effect of severe climate disruptions challenges the resilience of the salmon. Furthermore, the salmon’s life cycle renders them highly vulnerable to environmental impacts, as those returning to California’s waters today were already affected by drought conditions three years ago during their initial journey to the ocean. 

The Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended a full closure of California’s commercial and recreational 2023 ocean salmon fisheries, causing severe and long-lasting effects on already distressed coastal communities and the businesses that depend upon these fisheries. 

Closure Impact on California Commercial Salmon Fishery (2023): 

  • Loss of 100 percent of the 5-year average annual ex-vessel value: $15,033,200 
  • Estimated loss of over $45 million from the closure of Sacramento River Fall Chinook (SRFC) and Klamath River Fall Chinook (KRFC) commercial and recreational ocean fisheries. 

More Resources 

To see how climate change affects California in other ways, visit: https://news.caloes.ca.gov/building-a-more-resilient-california-through-our-changing-climate/