GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Fishing Industry Stories

September 24, 2013

Editorial: Warren right to note need for fishing aid beyond 'loans'

While our federal lawmakers join the push for offering federal Small Business Administrations loans to Gloucester’s and other fishermen (see news story, Page 1), it’s encouraging to hear U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also concede that any such package would be merely be a positive first step toward the type of relief fishermen need.

And it was nice to hear Warren renew her push for the $150 million in out-and-out emergency disaster funding through the Senate Appropriations bill that could not only provide fishermen and waterfront businesses the help they need, but show that the Department of Commerce and Congress might indeed be responsible enough to apply some money to help address the “economic disaster” that Commerce declared a year ago this month.

The idea of steering up to $150 million toward Northeast groundfishermen, including the bulk of Gloucester’s embattled fleet, is, of course, hardly new at this point. Congressman John Tierney, or instance, got behind a similar proposal in the House last winter, only to have that potential funding understandably take a priority back seat to emergency aid for communities ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.

In the meantime, of course, NOAA and other Commerce officials have floated a few ideas toward making nice — like offers of providing money toward more cooperative research for fishermen, and with all of $10 million made available from seafood import tariff money under the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, with grants for fleets and communities interested in improving fishing operations and perhaps “transitioning” toward more futuristic approaches to harbor management.

Yet, NOAA and other officials don’t bother to mention that, according to last year’s budget figures, tariff revenue that should be available to the industry — yet remains tied up in NOAA’s operations budget, in apparent violation of the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act — totals well over $100 million. And a year after Commerce’s “economic disaster” declaration, no federal agency has offered a dime to address it. That’s a slap in the face to fishermen and fishing communities on all of America’s coasts. And to her credit, Warren, like Tierney, clearly recognizes that.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fishing Industry Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins