April 04, 2020

Senators Warren and Markey Urge Department of Commerce, NOAA to Act Swiftly, Equitably, and Transparently in Allocating $300 Million in Fisheries Disaster Assistance

Lawmakers call for voices of the fishing industry to be heard during a rapid process of assessment, allocation, and distribution of funds

Text of Letter (PDF)


Boston, MA – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) are calling on the Commerce Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide a swift, equitable, and transparent process in distributing the $300 million in fisheries disaster relief funds included in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The coronavirus pandemic has caused restaurants across the United States to close and disrupted large export markets, causing fisheries and seafood processors to lose key customers. The fisheries disaster assistance funding will be available to fisheries participants that meet the standard of losing 35 percent of their revenue compared to previous years.


“These are dire times for the fishing and seafood industries,” write the senators in their letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Neil Jacobs. “Setting up an equitable process from the beginning will help ensure the rapid allocation of funds. Previous fisheries disaster relief efforts such as the 2005 New England red tide federal disaster took two years and created a cash flow problem for those anticipating help. We cannot afford similar delays during this crisis.”


Last month Senator Warren joined Senators Markey, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in calling on Senate leadership to support the fishing industry in the Phase 3 coronavirus economic relief package.