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NOAA direct assistance funds set to be distributed by Friday

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 New Hampshire will be receiving nearly $1 million in direct federal fishery disaster assistance by Friday. The funds come from a disaster relief resources plan that was developed earlier this year and will go toward supporting New Hampshire’s fishing industry that has been suffering severe economic losses in recent years due to declining fish populations and stringent federal regulations.

In total, New Hampshire will receive more than $2 million in funds with an additional $1.1 million still to be distributed and used at the state’s discretion.

"New Hampshire’s historic fishing industry is an integral part of our regional economy and we need to make sure the industry remains viable and emerges strong after the difficulties our fishermen have been facing,” Shaheen said. “It's great that a portion of the disaster relief resources I’ve long fought for are finally reaching New Hampshire fishermen, but NOAA needs to quickly release the remaining funds in order to provide timely additional relief for struggling coastal communities.  I will continue to work with NOAA and New Hampshire stakeholders on the expeditious release of these resources in order to protect New Hampshire jobs and the Seacoast economy.”

“This disaster relief funding will provide much-needed direct support to New Hampshire fishermen, whose livelihoods continue to be threatened as a result of unreasonable federal regulations,” Ayotte said.  “While I urge NOAA to release the remaining funds as soon as possible, our state’s small-boat fleet needs relief from onerous federal catch share limits in order to survive, and I will continue to work with our state’s fishermen to find a long-term solution.”

Shaheen and Ayotte have been strong advocates for New Hampshire’s fishing industry, which has faced severe economic losses in recent years due to onerous catch limit regulations, which may continue as a result of recent reports indicating that cod populations may have declined further. The Senators have also met with federal officials to discuss disaster relief and ways to protect the fishing industry and successfully called on the Commerce Department to waive the state matching requirements for federally declared disaster relief funds for the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fishery.