Lawmakers Seek $100 Million Fishermen Relief Package
New England lawmakers are considering asking Congress for $100 million in disaster relief funds for the fishing industry, including money to help fishermen exit the industry and subsidies for those who stay in.
The proposal is outlined in a draft letter to Congressional leaders from U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Discussions are ongoing within the New England delegation, and details could change. The New England fishing fleet, already pared down by years tightening regulations, is facing catastrophic cutbacks in their 2013 catch.
The draft proposal comes after lawmakers in early August repeated a request to the U.S. Commerce Secretary for a disaster declaration for New England fishermen and fishing communities. That would open the door for federal funds. No declaration has been issued, but a Kerry spokeswoman said he believes ‘the finish line is in sight.’