WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee yesterday passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that would help boost the West Coast groundfish fishery and protect maritime jobs.
The Revitalizing the Economy of Fisheries in the Pacific Act aims to help fishermen by ensuring they receive the same interest rates on federal loans as other businesses, and extends the length of these loans from 30 to 45 years. In addition, the legislation caps the fees that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is able to collect from fishermen.
The legislation passed through the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday by a voice vote. It will now proceed to the full Senate.
A companion bill has been introduced by U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03) and Jared Huffman (D-CA-02). Cantwell’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Mark Begich (D-AK).
“It’s been rewarding to work in a bipartisan sense and in a regional sense on such an important issue,” Cantwell said during the hearing. “The bill gives common sense financing solutions to our West Coast groundfish fishery and its ability to refinance on their buyback loans. The West Coast ground fishery supports thousands of family wage jobs.”