SHAHEEN, AYOTTE: COMPROMISE ON FISHERY DISASTER FUNDS WILL PROVIDE LONG AWAITED SUPPORT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHING INDUSTRY

NOAA announces deal on distribution of fishery disaster funds to New England states

May 28, 2014

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today welcomed an announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the New England states have reached a compromise on how to distribute $32.8 million in federal fishery disaster funds. The funds are part of $75 million in disaster relief resources that were secured earlier this year. The compromise outlines how the funds will be distributed between the states and will support New Hampshire’s fishing industry.

New Hampshire will receive more than $2 million in funds with more than $900,000 going to direct assistance for New Hampshire fishermen. More than $1.1 million will be used at the state’s discretion.

“Today’s announcement by NOAA that an agreement has been reached to distribute fishery disaster funds is welcome news for New Hampshire’s fishing industry and the seacoast economy,” Shaheen said. “This means that funds will be distributed more quickly to those struggling and that New Hampshire will receive its fair share of the disaster resources to help protect and preserve this historic industry. I will continue to work with NOAA and stakeholders to protect the long term sustainability of New Hampshire’s fishing industry.”

“This agreement is welcome news and will help provide short-term relief to New Hampshire’s fishermen. But more importantly, our struggling small-boat fleet needs relief from onerous federal regulations so New Hampshire’s fishermen can continue to make a living. I will continue to urge federal officials to work toward a more sensible regulatory climate,” said Ayotte, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Shaheen and Ayotte have been strong advocates for New Hampshire’s fishing industry which has been struggling under onerous catch limit regulations and consequent economic losses, and earlier this month the Senators sent a letter to NOAA advocating for the incorporation of local ideas and prompt distribution of disaster funds. Earlier this year, they successfully called on the Commerce Department to waive the state matching requirements for federally declared disaster relief funds for the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fishery. They also met with federal officials to discuss disaster relief and ways to protect the fishing industry.