Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank declared fisheries disasters for New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Sandy
The Commerce Secretary is able to declare a “fishery resource disaster” and a “catastrophic regional fishery disaster,” which allows Congress to appropriate federal relief funds. New Jersey and New York fit he bill.
If money is appropriated, Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will work closely with members of Congress and the governors of impacted states to develop financial assistance plans to help coastal communities and fishing industries.
“We are taking action because of the storm’s devastating impact on the people who live and work in coastal communities that were hit hard by Sandy. Many of these hardworking Americans depend on a robust fishing industry to support their families and local economies,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “This disaster declaration is part of a coordinated federal effort to help the region rebuild. The Obama Administration is committed to bringing all available resources to bear to support state and local partners as well as affected communities as recovery continues.”
Although the extent of the damage to local commercial and recreational fisheries and coastal infrastructure is not yet known, the cascading economic and social impacts of a storm of this magnitude will likely be extensive. In 2010 alone, New Jersey and New York commercial fisheries landed almost 190 million pounds of fish, valued at more than $210 million dollars. More importantly, New Jersey and New York recreational fishermen took more than 10 million trips and caught a total of nearly five million fish.
“Communities along the East Coast were ravaged by the Sandy’s impacts, including the fishing industry, especially in New York and New Jersey. Fishing is the lifeblood of many coastal communities, providing jobs and recreational opportunities for millions and contributing to the food security of the nation,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, administrator, NOAA.