Gluesenkamp Perez Urges Repair of Inoperable Weather Buoys to Support Maritime Safety

Jan 29, 2024
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and State Senator Jeff Wilson speak with crab fishermen in January in Ilwaco, WA.

Last week, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) sent a letter to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, urging the agency to repair inoperable weather buoys at the mouth of the Columbia River. The buoys are critical to providing up-to-date and accurate weather information that can help fishermen, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Columbia River Bar Pilots operate safely.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez was alerted in late December that two of the three buoys were not functional. Without operational weather buoys, the Columbia River Bar Pilots, who skillfully navigate roughly 3,600 vessels across the dangerous bar each year, have to close the bar more frequently. 

“For industries like crab fishing, where every hour counts, this data gathered from the buoys is integral to safe decision making. … Without the data from the buoys, our local crabbers must decide on whether to miss time during a shorter season or put themselves and their crew at risk,” wrote Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez in the letter. “I’ve seen the impacts that losing fishermen has on a family and the entire community, and I urge NOAA to prioritize replacing these buoys as soon as possible to help ensure that our fishermen, bar pilots, and Coast Guardsmen can return home safely to their families.”

Last week, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visited Ilwaco to speak with fishermen and community leaders about the devastating fire at a seafood processing facility. With some crabbers working longer hours as a result of the impacts, up-to-date weather information is especially critical for ensuring safety on the water.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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