July 19, 2013

U.S. fisheries disaster relief takes a step forward

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A U.S. Senate subcommittee has included $150 million for fisheries disaster relief in a new bill.

The move is another step toward securing emergency funds for fishermen in the Northeast, Alaska and the Gulf Coast in the wake of federal disaster declarations for struggling fisheries there last year.

The money must be approved by the full Senate. Last year, the same amount was approved in the Senate, but was stripped out by the House.

The office of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that, in addition to the $150 million disaster money, a portion of seafood import duties generated by the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act would be directed to fishing communities. Those funds would help modernize their fleets, shoreside service and port facilities.

The bill would also expand the use of fishing vessels to perform stock assessments.

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