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Pallone Highlights Aid Delivered to New Jersey’s Fishing Communities

March 8, 2021
Press Release

Belford, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today held a press conference to highlight aid delivered to New Jersey’s fishing communities. New Jersey received $11 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress passed and was signed into law in March 2020. The funding was allocated to aid commercial fishing businesses, charter and for-hire fishing businesses, aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses in New Jersey. The omnibus and coronavirus relief bill Congress passed and was signed into law in December included an additional $300 million for the fishing industry in the U.S.

“The coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected New Jersey’s fishing communities, which is why I fought so hard to include robust funding for them in the CARES Act and have worked to ensure that funding is distributed to those who need it most,” Congressman Pallone said. “I’m grateful members of the fishing industry could join me today to highlight just how important their work is to the Jersey Shore and our state. The economic impacts of the pandemic have been felt deeply across our state and have been especially severe for the hardworking men and women who make our fishing industry so strong. I’ll continue to work to ensure that the fishing community in New Jersey receives the assistance it needs to weather this ongoing economic storm.”

“As stewards of all of New Jersey’s natural resources, my Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) colleagues and I are committed to the protection of our fisheries and we thank Congressman Pallone for his unwavering support for sound natural resource management policies,” said Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Shawn LaTourette. “When we protect and wisely manage our resources, we are also supporting the people and businesses who rely on their good care—like the commercial and recreational fishing businesses that are critical not just to our economy, but to our state’s very identity. I am proud that DEP, through our Marine Fisheries Administration, could partner with Congressman Pallone in getting crucial CARES funding to our fishing communities, and I encourage all New Jerseyans to support these exceptional local businesses.”

“I’ve been on a boat with my family since I’ve been seven years old. The pandemic hit the little guy really hard. We still haven’t recovered from Superstorm Sandy that hurt us badly with eight feet of water on the dock and wiped everything out,” said Captain Richard Isaksen, President of the Belford Seafood Cooperative. “I want to thank Congressman Pallone for all he has done for the fishing industry. He is the only one who thinks about us. I don’t really think of him as a politician - he is really a people’s man. He listens every time we call him about something and is the only man who really gets anything done.”

“In the fishing industry, we’re no strangers to uncertainty. We have overcome many challenges, but nothing could have prepared us for 2020. This past year, our store experienced financial losses of 60-65 percent. Due to an enormous decline in sales and a lack of wholesale supply distribution, we spent the past year selling whatever inventory we already had on our shelves,” said Jung Kim, owner of Fred’s Bait and Tackle. “Thanks to the CARES Act, we will now be able to replenish our merchandise and serve our customers again this spring. We are grateful to Congressman Pallone for fighting to provide critical relief to small businesses. The fishing industry is very important to the state’s economy, and I thank Congressman Pallone for his continued support of the fishing industry in New Jersey.”

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began, no one in the fishing industry knew what would happen throughout the year and what it would do to our businesses. So many of our customers had to cancel or postpone their trips with us due to fear of the virus or also due to their own company’s restrictions,” said Captain Michael Scardigno, owner of Scardigno Charter Fishing Inc. “Thankfully, Congressman Pallone realized our industry is an important part of the local economy. He pushed for funding to help the fishing industry to be able to survive through these unusual times. Without his help we would not have been able to bring back our employees or continue our operations to support our local economy. Thank you again to Congressman Pallone for all of his support throughout the years.”

“This assistance is a big help, and it means a lot to us here at Belford Seafood Co-op. The pandemic has made it a bit of a ghost town this year, and it’s made it very difficult for fishermen to go out and catch fish with prices so low. We definitely needed the help. I want to thank Congressman Pallone and DEP who was also a big help with the application,” said Dave Tauro, General Manager of Belford Seafood Cooperative.

New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry generates over $8 billion annually supporting over 50,000 jobs and has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the United States.