Today Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-03), and Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) sent a letter to Chairman, Frank Wolfe of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania, of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies requesting that the fishing industries are given access to disaster relief funds in the supplemental disaster appropriations bill. In November Congressmen LoBiondo, Runyan and Smith sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting the New Jersey Fishing industry be declared a disaster area. Even though both New Jersey and New York's fishing resources were declared a disaster area, President Barack Obama did not include the fishing industry in his supplemental aid request to Congress. If these areas are not included, they would not be eligible for disaster relief.
The full text of the letter to Chairman Wolfe and Ranking Member Fattah is as follows:
Dear Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah,
On November 16, 2012, New Jersey and New York were both given a federal fishery resource disaster declaration as a result of damage sustained during Super-Storm Sandy. We write to respectfully request funding for the fisheries resource disaster in the Hurricane Sandy supplemental appropriations bill, and request that this funding be adequate to cover both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.
New Jersey's fishing industry is one of the drivers of our regional economy and a staple in coastal communities. It is imperative that the industry gets the funding it needs in a timely fashion so that it can rebuild to its previous level. The fishing industry impacts a wide swath of New Jersey's economy and includes not only fishermen, but processors, boat builders, bait and tackle shops, marinas, distributors, and tourism thanks to New Jersey's vast charter boat operations. In 2011, the industry landed 175 million pounds of seafood generating over $1.3 billion in revenue and supporting more than 40,000 jobs.
In addition to the damage to New Jersey's fishing industry Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on New Jersey's coastal infrastructure. In the immediate aftermath of the Hurricane dozens of large boats piled up in what was left of mangled recreational marinas, causing tremendous damage to infrastructure. We need disaster declaration funding to rebuild this infrastructure so that this industry can return to being a vibrant driver of the coastal economy.
We would also like to make you aware that the President did not include funding in his disaster supplemental request to Congress for fisheries disaster relief. While this funding would be in addition to the President's request; it is no less important to New Jersey's recovery. We thank you for your consideration of this request, and look forward to working with you to see that fisheries disaster funding is included in any proposed Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill.