February 11, 2014

(Washington, DC) – As part of their ongoing efforts to protect New Hampshire’s fishing industry, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) met with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials today to discuss disaster relief for fisheries. Shaheen and Ayotte were joined by Senators from coastal New England states at the meeting with NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan and NOAA Fisheries Director Eileen Sobeck.

“Fishermen and coastal communities up and down New England have been struggling in recent years and we have to make sure the industry remains strong and viable, particularly during these difficult times,” Shaheen said. “I am hopeful that these funds will provide some much-needed relief to one of the oldest and most important industries in New Hampshire.”

“The disaster funds included in the recent appropriations bill will provide some short-term relief to New Hampshire fishermen, and I was glad to speak with NOAA officials today about the need to ensure assistance gets to those who need it most,” said Ayotte, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.  “Our small-boat fleet also needs relief from onerous federal regulations that are driving New Hampshire’s fishing industry to near extinction, and I will continue to urge federal officials to work toward a more sensible regulatory climate that will allow our fishermen to survive in the long-term.”

At the meeting, Shaheen and Ayotte also relayed concerns from New Hampshire fishermen who have been struggling with revenue losses, declining fish populations and the impact of fishery management decisions.

Shaheen and Ayotte have been leaders in a bipartisan effort to secure disaster relief support for New Hampshire fishermen and other states affected by declining fish populations and consequent economic losses. The 2014 bipartisan appropriations bill included $75 million, to be administered by NOAA, for fishery disaster relief to help alleviate the economic impacts associated with declared commercial fishery failures and fishery resources disasters throughout the country.