U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today applauded the decision by the United States Department of Commerce to declare a disaster for the Northeast commercial fishing industry. This decision will allow disaster relief to be provided for fishermen and fishing communities struggling with revenue losses and the impact of fishery management decisions.
Shaheen sent a letter to then-Commerce Secretary John Bryson in February urging the department to declare a disaster in response to declining cod populations and regional management decisions that have caused economic hardship for fishermen.
"The disaster declaration announced today by the United States Department of Commerce is welcome news for New Hampshire's fishermen who have seen their income decline drastically in recent years," Shaheen said. "Fishing in New Hampshire is one of the Granite State's oldest industries, and its survival is crucial to preserving jobs in our coastal communities. I will work to ensure that our fishermen receive much-needed economic relief that also invests in the long-term health of our state's fishery."
A 2011 study carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the cod population in the Gulf of Maine had fallen to dangerously low levels. Though catch limits have been put in place to protect this population, recent data shows that several key fish stocks are not rebuilding. The loss of resources for New England fishing communities has threatened the livelihood of fishermen throughout the region.
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