The 2013 farm bill emerged from the U.S. Senate this week with two amendments to help the fishing industry, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. William "Mo" Cowan, his staff announced Monday.
One amendment calls for some sort of catch insurance similar to crop insurance used by farmers.
The other would make low-interest loans available to the fishing industry to cope with the economic disaster declared in the fishery last year by acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.
But the bill still has months to go. The House is expected to pass its own version, then the two will be reconciled in committee, where support for new spending on the fishing industry might face an uphill battle.
"Our fishermen are hurting and they need our help. I was pleased that the Senate-passed farm bill included my provision to resolve an inequity in the law and provide fishermen access to disaster loans just like other agriculture producers," Cowan said in a written statement. He was unavailable for an interview.
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National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15
In this episode:
Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.