Washington (January 4, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives William R. Keating (MA-09) and Seth Moulton (MA-08) joined in expressing support for the inclusion of $300 million in national fisheries disaster assistance as part of the $900 billion coronavirus relief legislation that passed at the end of the year. Massachusetts has previously been allocated $28 million in fisheries assistance in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act funding. 
“The Massachusetts fishing and seafood industries aren’t just part of the Bay State’s historic and cultural heritage—they are vital contributors to our working waterfronts and coastal economy,” said the Massachusetts lawmakers. “These industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic and economic crisis and deserve to be included in relief efforts. We will continue to fight for this funding to be distributed swiftly and equitably to Massachusetts businesses and then supplanted with the additional support that the fishing and seafood industries need.”

Massachusetts lawmakers, led by Senators Markey and Warren, have championed the allocation of financial aid to fishery participants. In March 2020, Senators Markey and Warren, and Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan called on Senate leadership to include support for the fishing industry in coronavirus economic relief packages. and secured a $20 million USDA procurement of Atlantic seafood. Also in March 2020, Reps. Keating, Richard Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) called on House leadership to include fishing disaster assistance in relief packages.  In April 2020, Senators Markey and Warren led a letter urging the Department of Commerce and NOAA to act swiftly, equitably, and transparently in allocating fisheries disaster assistance funding.  Also in April, Senators Markey and Warren led a letter demanding immediate release of federal guidance on how fishery participants could access the $300 million in CARES Act funds, and identifying bureaucratic inefficiencies that were behind the failure to issue this guidance in a timely manner. In June 2020, Senators Markey and Warren called on Senate leadership to include additional fisheries assistance in the next coronavirus relief package.