For Immediate Release - January 15, 2014

AG Applauds U.S. House for Approving $75 Million in Relief for Fishermen Under Federal Budget Plan

BOSTON – In a continued effort to protect the future of the fishing industry in Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for approving a $1 trillion Congressional spending bill that would include $75 million in disaster relief for fishermen nationwide.

“We applaud the bipartisan federal appropriations plan worked out by Congress and thank the House for voting to authorize critical funding to provide support for the hard-hit fishing communities in our Commonwealth,” AG Coakley said. “As fisheries in Massachusetts and other coastal communities continue to struggle with depleted fish stock and catch limits, I want to express my appreciation to our state’s congressional delegation for their leadership in fighting for our local economy and the well-being of our fishing families. We urge the Senate to do the same by voting for this important relief.”

 

BACKGROUND:

AG Coakley’s ongoing efforts to advocate for the Massachusetts fishing industry, part of the Commonwealth’s historic past, is to ensure that the industry is part of the state’s vibrant economic future.

In May, AG Coakley filed suit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for ignoring the devastating economic impact of new regulations and for allegedly using flawed science to over-restrict the Massachusetts fishing industry. On May 1, NOAA began enforcing a 77 percent reduction of groundfish allotments across the region. The suit aims to block the new regulations from being further enforced or implemented, as well as other relief to mitigate the impact.

In December, AG Coakley urged a federal court to stop new regulations of the fish stock, calling it an “existential threat” to New England’s 400-year-old fishing industry, and advocated for the fisheries disaster funding in the final Fiscal Year 2014 federal budget.

After a scathing report by the Inspector General that documented excessive and harmful enforcement actions, AG Coakley also urged Congress to pass legislation that would reimburse local fishermen for legal fees incurred while appealing those penalties. Congress has failed to pass this legislation.

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