The entire Massachusetts delegation is backing Gov. Deval Patrick's effort to have the federal Small Business Administration provide economic assistance to fishermen through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
A letter dated Monday and signed by both Massachusetts senators and eight congressmen says: "Our fishermen and fishing-related businesses need SBA assistance as they work to adjust to a perfect storm of events that threatens the future one of our nation's oldest and most storied industries and the coastal communities that depend on it."
Significant cuts in the amounts of groundfish that Northeastern fishermen may catch and other harsh economic factors have driven many fishermen out of the business and significantly threaten those who remain, the lawmakers said.
Sen. Ed Markey, who coordinated the efforts of his colleagues, said: "Fishermen need help, and these small business loans are another way to get them financial assistance that will actually keep their businesses afloat. Massachusetts' lawmakers in Washington are united in our efforts to get fishermen the respect and the assistance they deserve."