Pallone Announces Recreational Fishing Industry Included in Fishing Disaster Declaration

Nov 29, 2012 Issues: Fisheries, Hurricane Sandy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs confirmed that recreational fishing infrastructure such as marinas, tackle and bait stores and public access points that provide fishing access are eligible for disaster assistance under the fishery disaster declaration.

“I understand that there has been concern that certain aspects of the recreational fishing sector were not included in the fishery disaster declaration.  My office has been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to confirm that shore-side fishery infrastructure including marinas, tackle and bait stores and boat ramps are eligible for assistance with this declaration.”

On Tuesday, November 13, Congressman Pallone sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank urging that the Department declare a federal fishery resource disaster in New Jersey.  On Friday, November 16, Acting Secretary Blank announced that she had made the determination of a fishery resource disaster to help coastal communities in New Jersey.  With this determination, under Section 308(d) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and Section 315 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, federal relief funds can be appropriated and directed at assisting with disaster relief. 

Congress will now need to appropriate funding for disaster assistance and once appropriated, the National Marine Fisheries Service will work with the state on developing a spending program to determine allocation of the funds.

“I am pleased to be able to work with the Administration to ensure that, in addition to the commercial fishing industry, those in the recreational fishing community and the related shore-side fishing infrastructure are eligible for fishery disaster assistance, but our work is really just beginning,” said Pallone.  “We now need to work to make sure funds are appropriate and directed to those impacted by the storm.  That’s why it is important that the state and federal governments identify those fishermen, fishing related business and the shore-side infrastructure in need of assistance and direct funds where necessary.”