Members of the Massachusetts’ all-Democratic congressional delegation are urging the federal Department of Commerce to immediately begin the process of allocating $75 million in fishery disaster funding. The funding was included in a government spending bill that passed in January.
In the letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and six U.S. House members argue that the impact of the fishing crisis on Massachusetts fishermen accounts for 90 percent of the economic disaster in the Northeast region.
They also argue the money should be distributed directly to the state so it can be more efficiently delivered to fishermen, an approach suggested by Gov. Deval Patrick. In January 2014, a federal law passed providing $75 million in disaster assistance to struggling fishermen and fishing-related businesses.