Massachusetts Delegation Urges Small Business Assistance for Fishermen


Disaster loans would help struggling fishermen


WASHINGTON (September 23, 2013) - The entire Massachusetts delegation today pressed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts fishermen who have been hard hit by reductions in catch limits and groundfish stocks. 


In a letter sent today by the Bay State lawmakers to the head of disaster assistance at the SBA, they ask for the agency to back the certification made by Governor Deval Patrick that small businesses in Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Plymouth, Norfolk and Suffolk counties have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a fishery resource disaster. They also ask that the SBA enact a plan to provide economic assistance to fishermen through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.


"Our fishermen and fishingrelated businesses need SBA assistance as they work to adjust to a perfect storm of events that threatens the future one of our nation's oldest and most storied industries and the coastal communities that depend on it," write the lawmakers. "The assistance would be used to help ease the economic effects of federal regulations imposed to stop what the Department of Commerce and fishermen anticipate will be dramatic declines in groundfish stocks in the Massachusetts multispecies fishery, while also allowing critical investments to make the industry more sustainable in the long term."


The full letter can be found HERE . The letter, led by Senator Edward J. Markey, was signed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano, Stephen Lynch, John Tierney, Niki Tsongas, Bill Keating, and Joe Kennedy III.


Due to determinations that stocks of cod, flounder, and other groundfish are not at healthy levels, significant cuts have been made to the amount of those fish that Northeast fishermen can catch. Combined with high fuel prices and other harsh economic factors, many fishermen who have worked the waters for years or for generations have gone out of business or are in danger of doing so.


Contact: Eben BurnhamSnyder, Senator Ed Markey, 2022242742