Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the allocation of $65 million to communities in Alaska, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and the Yurok Tribe (California) that suffered fishery disasters between 2017 and 2019.
“These funds help impacted fisheries recover from recent disasters and make them more resilient to future challenges,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This allocation supports the hard-working American fishing communities suffering from impacts beyond their control.”
Fisheries play a critical role for coastal economies, providing jobs for fishermen, fish processors, and other related maritime industries. However, fisheries can experience natural disaster events and other circumstances beyond the control of fishery managers, resulting in sudden and unexpected losses within the fishery and leading to serious economic impacts to those who rely on them.
NOAA Fisheries used commercial revenue loss information to allocate funding among the eligible disasters. NOAA Fisheries also took into consideration traditional uses that cannot be accounted for in commercial revenue loss alone.
The allocated funds can be used to help the fishing community including commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure, and subsistence users, as well as improve the fishing ecosystem and environment. These funds will improve the long term economic and environmental sustainability of the impacted fisheries. Activities that can be considered for funding include infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, and job retraining.
In addition, some of the affected fishing communities may be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration or other federal agencies.
John Ewald, 301-427-8029