A year ago, the bill to provide $150 million in direct federal disaster assistance to fishermen rolled through the Senate, only to die a lingering death in the House — a casualty of the internecine and partisan bickering over the debt ceiling.
Yesterday, that failure by Congress to lift a deliberative finger to help fishermen was reduced to a political footnote when the Senate passed an appropriation to send $75 million to help fishermen, and fishing communities begin to right their ship after the economic peril visited upon them by the industry’s collapse.
The vote by the Senate, which followed Wednesday’s overwhelming victory in the House, means the federal government now will provide its first meaningful financial assistance to fishermen since the Department of Commerce declared an economic disaster in the Northeast groundfish fishery and elsewhere in 2012.
”This aid to our fishermen is long overdue,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said yesterday, immediately after casting her vote on the Senate floor. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Warren stressed that the appropriation is just the first step in helping rebuild the industry that has been ravaged by depleted fish stocks, shrinking fleets, climatic changes and NOAA’s crisis management strategy of closing traditional fishing grounds and slashing catch quotas.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
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.