PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Sept. 14, 2012 -- Seacoast fishermen are just beginning to sort out the potential impacts
of the U.S. Department of Commerce's declaration of a disaster for the
Northeast commercial fishing industry.
On Wednesday, acting Secretary of Commerce
Rebecca Blank issued fishery disaster determinations in the Northeast,
Alaska and Mississippi. According to the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, the declarations pave the way for Congress
to appropriate money toward alleviating the financial hardship caused by
"If money is appropriated, NOAA will work
closely with Congress and the states to develop plans to preserve
coastal communities," the statement said.
New England, despite fishermen's adherence to strict catch limits,
several key fish stocks — most prominently cod — in the Northeast
groundfish fishery are not rebuilding according to NOAA and further cuts
are expected in 2013.
In a letter from Blank
to Gov. John Lynch, the Department of Commerce official said she became
"deeply concerned" about potential impacts to Northeast fishermen and
fishing communities after reviewing information available on the
potential catch limits for 2013.
Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration will continue to engage with the New England Fishery
Management Council and the fishing industry in advance of the 2013
fishing year to explore all possible options to mitigate these impacts,"
she wrote. "However, it seems unlikely that all economic impacts can be
mitigated solely through fisheries management measures."
hailed the disaster declaration as providing much-needed relief to
fishermen and communities affected by lost revenues and fishery
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