February 26, 2014

Mass. Delegation Responds to Disaster Relief Allotment of $32.8 Million for New England Fishermen

Washington, DC – The Massachusetts Congressional Delegation released statements today in response to the disaster relief funding breakdown announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes $32,847,955 for New England fishermen, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to waive the state 25% match requirement for states receiving disaster relief. The delegation has been fighting for aid since a federal fisheries disaster was declared for Massachusetts in September of 2012, and Senators Warren and Markey strongly advocated for the waiver in a letter to Commerce, and in meetings with NOAA.

“It is critically important that disaster relief aid finally reach Massachusetts’ neediest fishermen, and I applaud Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and NOAA acting Administrator Kathryn Sullivan for recognizing the dire situation our fishermen are facing and heeding our calls to waive the state 25% match requirement,” said Senator Warren. “I remain disappointed that the overall Senate allotment of $150 million was cut to $75 million in order to reach an agreement with Republican leadership in the House, but this funding will provide much needed relief to our fishing families and I am grateful to Senator Mikulski for her leadership and support to secure this critical relief. I know this aid will not solve all of the problems facing our fishing industry, and I will continue fighting in Washington on behalf of our hardworking fishing families.”

“The fact that the Northeast region received the most money for their fishing disaster shows just how bad it really has been in Massachusetts and across New England for our fishermen and their communities,” said Senator Markey. “The task now is to make sure that Massachusetts fishermen and their families receive as much of the money as possible, as quickly as possible. Waiving the requirement that states match the funding is a crucial decision that will help speed up this process without putting additional burdens on the Commonwealth. I look forward to working with our fishermen, Governor Patrick, the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation, and NOAA to ensure Massachusetts’ proud fishing tradition will continue for another four centuries and beyond.”

“Today’s announcement that the New England groundfish fishery will be receiving $32.8 million in federal disaster assistance and that states will not be unduly burdened by a requirement to provide matching funds is the critical next step in this process. In the days and weeks ahead, I will be working with state officials and industry stakeholders to ensure that Massachusetts receives its appropriate share and this long-overdue  assistance is delivered to fishermen and their families as quickly as possible,” said Congressman John Tierney.

“I am very pleased that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced today that they will award $32.847 million in funding for fisheries disaster relief to the New England region, and that the Department of Commerce will waive the requirement that states match 25 percent of any funding awarded to them,” Congressman Lynch said. “The Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fishery was declared a federal fisheries disaster area in September of 2012, and has long been in need of economic relief. The economic well-being of the fishing industry is vital to the coastal communities in my district, the Commonwealth and the entire New England region. This is a critical step towards ensuring that the fishing industry is provided the relief and support that it needs and continues to remain a viable industry for Massachusetts and New England.”

“Massachusetts’ fishing families are a cornerstone of our state’s economic and cultural foundation, with a grit and determination reflective of the New England spirit,” Congresswoman Tsongas said. “This much needed assistance will support these hard-working men and women and their local economies that were hit hard in the wake of a federally declared economic disaster.”

“Today’s announcement marks a critical step toward providing Massachusetts’ fishing communities with long-awaited disaster assistance needed to alleviate the hardships our fishermen have been facing,” said Congressman Keating. “This funding will also provide an opportunity for investment in the continued vitality of this historic industry. At the behest of the entire Northeast congressional delegation, NOAA has also announced the decision to waive the matching requirement for states. I am hopeful that this will allow for focus on the urgent issue at hand: finding effective uses for this overdue financial assistance.”

“Along the coast of our Commonwealth, fisheries have been and will continue to be a critical industry in the state’s economy,” said Congressman Kennedy. “As our fisheries rebuild and recover, these funds will help strengthen and sustain fisherman and their families, their businesses, and the fishing communities that rely on the industry as a major source of income and vitality.”