Relevant Legislation and Resources—Fishery Disaster Assistance
NOAA Fisheries has the authority to administer fishery disaster assistance if the Secretary of Commerce determines that a commercial fishery failure has occurred.
NOAA Fisheries has the authority to administer fishery resource disaster assistance under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). A request for a fishery resource disaster determination is generally made by the Governor of a State, an official resolution of an Indian Tribe, or other comparable elected or politically appointed representative as determined by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The Secretary may also initiate a review at their own discretion. Any requests submitted before December 28, 2022 will be reviewed under the MSA and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act (IFA). Once all disaster requests submitted prior to December 29, 2022 have been evaluated, the IFA guidance will be repealed.
MSA Section 312(a)
Under MSA 312(a), the allowable causes for a fishery resource disaster are natural causes; undetermined causes; discrete anthropogenic (man made) causes; or a combination of a natural cause and an anthropogenic cause, as defined above. Natural causes exclude normal variations within the life cycle of a fish stock. For example, species that have a two-year life cycle such as salmon. Regulatory or judicial actions do not constitute “discrete anthropogenic” causes, except where imposed to protect human health, marine animals, plants, or habitats.
MSA Section 315
MSA Section 315 is no longer applicable as Congress passed the Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act, which amended the MSA.
IFA Section 308(b)
IFA is no longer applicable as Congress passed the Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act, which repealed IFA.
Many fishermen are unaware of federal grants and loans that might be available to them. Learn more about Fishery Disaster Assistance administered by NOAA Fisheries
Explore the information below for additional potential sources of federal assistance for fishing communities.