The coronavirus has hit Oregon’s commercial fishing industry hard. That was the message to state lawmakers during a recent meeting of the House Interim Committee on Natural Resources.
Anthony Dal Ponte is with Pacific Seafood, which is based in Clackamas and has several facilities on the Oregon coast. He said the company had to lay off more than 500 employees after their restaurant and hospitality industry markets dried up virtually overnight.
“Those create extreme challenges for us to be able to operate, and as we begin to re-open, we don’t see that turning back on like a light switch,” he said.
The industry has also had to adjust to keeping workers safe from the virus. A seafood plant in Astoria closed down for two weeks in May after more than two dozen workers there tested positive for COVID-19.