April 29, 2013

Senators Warren and Cowan Urge Action by President Obama to Support Massachusetts Fishermen

Letter to President Requests Critical Disaster Relief Funding, Assistance with Burdensome Monitoring Costs, and Reevaluation of Devastating Catch Share Reductions

WASHINGTON, DC - On Thursday, April 25th, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and William "Mo" Cowan (D-MA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging immediate action to aid Massachusetts fishermen. The full text of the letter may be viewed here.

In September 2012, the Secretary of Commerce issued disaster declarations for several fisheries, including the Northeast groundfish fishery. The industry currently faces devastating reductions in catch allocations for key fish stocks such as cod for the next several years.

The letter requests three specific actions to mitigate the impact of these cuts. First, it asks the Department of Commerce to issue an interim measure that would substantially reduce fishing allocations but at an amount that allows the business to remain in operation.

Senators Warren and Cowan also urge President Obama to submit a budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2013 to provide emergency funding for the fisheries disasters. The Senate's Sandy relief act provided $150 million for fisheries disaster assistance and passed the Senate last December; however, the funding was not considered by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The Senate also recently passed a bipartisan amendment co-sponsored by Senators Warren and Cowan in support of this critical disaster relief funding.

The letter also calls on NOAA Fisheries to reconsider the impact of further burdening our fishermen with at-sea monitoring costs, and to commit to continuing to fully cover these costs.