U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced recently that Oregon fisheries will receive more than $13 million in fisheries assistance from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“Oregon’s fishing industry up and down the coast has been cast adrift by the pandemic’s economic riptide,” Wyden said. “West Coast seafood is prized internationally, and Oregonians in this signature state industry must be able to earn a family wage. These resources will provide a much-needed lifeline so that Oregon’s job-creating fishing and seafood processors can weather this economic storm.”
“Oregon’s fisheries are the lifeblood of our coastal economies — supporting jobs that countless families rely on, and supplying communities across our state and around the world with exceptional products,” said Merkley, who led an April 2020 letter to Senate leadership advocating for $3.5 billion in support for the seafood and fishing industries. “As we set out to recover from the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, we must ensure that this crucial industry receives the support it needs to survive and bounce back stronger than before. I’m gratified that this fishery assistance funding is coming to our state, and will continue to do all that I can to support our fishermen and seafood processors during, and beyond, this difficult time.”
The allocation of an additional $255 million in fisheries assistance from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 will support activities previously authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The resources will be allocated to states and territories with coastal and marine fisheries hurt by COVID-19.
The funding will address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to eligible fishery participants, including commercial fishermen, charter businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial users, food processors and other fishery-related businesses. Congress also designated $30 million for all federally recognized tribes in coastal states. Eligible fishery participants should work with their state or territory’s marine fisheries management agencies to understand the process for applying for these funds.