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Rep. Pallone Requests Funding for Fisheries Impacted by Disaster in Superstorm Sandy Appropriations Bill

December 20, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.—Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies today requesting that federal fisheries disaster funding be included in any supplemental disaster funding to assist states affected by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Pallone’s coastal New Jersey district suffered severe damage from the storm, and many fisheries located within the district are not operational as a result.

Following requests from Congressman Pallone and other New Jersey officials, The U.S. Department of Commerce declared a federal fishery disaster in the state on November 16, 2012 as a result of Superstorm Sandy. The commercial and recreational fishing industries are vitally important to New Jersey’s economy. According to the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fishery Service, the New Jersey seafood industry supported almost $6 million in sales and approximately 38,000 jobs in 2009, and the recreational fishing sector supported $1.4 million in sales and more than 8,500 jobs. The fishing industry also helps grow the state’s largest industry—tourism.

“Now that a federal fisheries disaster has been declared, our next step is making sure our commercial and recreational fishing operations receive federal assistance so they may quickly recover from the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy,” stated Pallone. “From seafood sales to tourism, our fishing businesses – and the infrastructure that supports them – have significant impact on the local economy, and their success is tied to the overall success of our communities.”

A bipartisan coalition of House Members representing districts where federal fisheries disasters were also declared in 2012 joined Congressman Pallone as signatories to the letter. The Members requested that all funding to assist fisheries affected by disaster be included as one appropriations package to expedite assistance and improve efficiency.

“I look forward to working with Members representing coastal areas also impacted by disaster and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Appropriations to ensure our respective fisheries have the resources they need to recover and contribute to their local economies,” Pallone added.

The letter is below:

December 19, 2012

 

 


The Honorable Harold Rogers

Chairman

Committee on Appropriations

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Frank Wolf

Chairman

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Norm Dicks

Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Chaka Fattah

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 


Dear Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah:

 

            We are writing to request that you include federal fisheries disaster funding in any supplemental appropriations bill that is prepared in response to Superstorm Sandy.  Under the authority granted to the Secretary of Commerce, federal fishery disasters declarations have been made in nine states that have all been subject to natural events that have caused severe hardship to recreational and commercial fishermen and the related industries.

 

As representatives from states which are subject to a federal fisheries disaster declarations, we strongly believe that inclusion of this funding will help fishing communities respond and recover from these disasters and help mitigate the effects of future disasters.  The Department of Commerce, under Section 308(d) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and Section 315 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, may proceed with assistance programs once funds have been appropriated by Congress.  Once appropriated these funds may be used to alleviate harm resulting from natural disaster. 

           

While the needs of our constituents are diverse, they commonly need federal assistance to help recover from disaster and help contribute to their local economies.  We request that you appropriate federal fishery disaster funds for declarations resulting from four specific events.  We believe that it is appropriate and most efficient that the assistance for these declarations be included in one package and as part of any supplemental appropriations bill that is being developed.

 

New Jersey and New York received federal fishery disaster declarations on November 16, 2012 as a result of Superstorm Sandy.  Damage was caused by the storm to boats, marinas, commercial fishing businesses, coastal infrastructure, fish processors, bait and tackle stores and other aspects of the recreational and commercial fishing operations in both states.  As individuals and families work to recover from the devastation that Sandy has left in its wake, it is critically important that they have federal assistance to rebuild and recover.

 

Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York received federal fishery disaster declarations for the multispecies groundfish fishery on September 13, 2012.  Despite compliance with strict management measures, the fishery has failed to recover.  Commercial fishermen continue to suffer while local communities that rely on a robust fishing industry are harmed as well.

 

Alaska received a federal fishery disaster declaration on September 12, 2012 for the Alaska Chinook salmon fisheries in the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, and Cook Inlet.  The Chinook salmon catch levels have decreased significantly and the underlying reasoning is still unclear.  This has an impact on the outdoor community, fishermen and subsistence fishing which is an important element in the region.

 

Mississippi received a federal fishery disaster declaration on September 12, 2012 for oyster and blue crab fisheries.  Flooding in the lower Mississippi River and the impact of massive quantities of freshwater have created substantial loss of access to important resources.  The losses in revenue and its impact on the commercial fishing industry have been felt hard and federal assistance is needed to help provide relief.

 

The losses that these disasters have caused for the recreational and commercial fishing industries as well as by the communities that rely on them as economic engines have been devastating.  The need for disaster assistance is urgent and we therefore ask for your support providing disaster assistance to these communities.  We urge you to include this assistance as part of any comprehensive disaster appropriations bill that the committee considers.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

            FRANK PALLONE, JR.                                             MICHAEL GRIMM   

            Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            EDWARD J. MARKEY                                              DON YOUNG

            Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

            TIMOTHY H. BISHOP                                               PETER T. KING

            Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            RUSH HOLT                                                               FRANK C. GUINTA 

            Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            MAURICE HINCHEY                                                ROSA L. DELAURO                         

            Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            BARNEY FRANK                                                      MICHAEL H. MICHAUD

            Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            JOHN F. TIERNEY                                                    CHELLIE PINGREE              

            Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            WILLIAM R. KEATING                                            STEPHEN F. LYNCH

            Member of Congress                                            Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

            JOE COURTNEY                                                       NIKI TSONGAS

            Member of Congress                                                Member of Congress   

 

 

 

 

            DAVID N. CICILLINE                                               JAMES R. LANGEVIN

           Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress