Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross allocated $200 million in disaster funding appropriated by Congress to help fishermen and the businesses and communities that rely upon them to recover and rebuild following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. Funding has also been appropriated and allocated for the disasters that devastated the West Coast and Alaska fishermen from 2014 to 2017.
"Last year, American fishing communities across the Gulf and Caribbean were devastated by some of the most destructive hurricanes in recent memory, while Pacific fisheries have suffered from years of hardship," said Secretary Ross. "This Administration stands shoulder to shoulder with these communities as they prove their strength and resilience in the face of adversity."
NOAA Fisheries used commercial fishery revenue loss as the common metric to allocate funding among eligible disasters. In addition to revenue loss, the agency also took subsistence uses and long-term impacts to the fishery into account to further ensure an equitable distribution of funds.
The funds can help commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure, subsistence users, and the fishing ecosystem and environment. Activities that can be considered for funding include infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and permit buybacks, job retraining, and other activities, as specified by the law and limits of the request.
Following this announcement, NOAA will contact the eligible applicants for both hurricane-affected states and territories and for states and tribes affected by fishery disasters on the West Coast and in Alaska.