New data show magnitude of impact from coronavirus pandemic, with annual losses potentially reaching half a billion dollars for Mass. fishing sectors


Boston (June 6, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called on U.S. Senate leadership to include additional fisheries assistance in the next coronavirus recovery package. Using newly estimated data from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Senators argue that $500 million in fisheries assistance is needed to make the fishing and seafood industries in Massachusetts whole from the effects of the pandemic. In their letter, the Senators highlight that, as the coronavirus crisis continues, the $28 million in fisheries assistance already allocated to Massachusetts will need to be supplemented, particularly as the pandemic continues to impact demand through the summer month’s peak harvests.


“Without this additional aid, we face the real possibility of losing a significant portion of our fishing and seafood industries to economic challenges caused by COVID-19, forever changing the character of our working waterfronts,” write Senator Markey and Warren in their letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


Massachusetts lawmakers, led by Senators Markey and Warren, have championed the swift, equitable, and transparent allocation of financial aid to fishery participants and secured a $20 million USDA procurement of Atlantic seafood. On April 29, Senators Markey and Warren led a letter demanding immediate release of federal guidance on how fishery participants can access this $300 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act funds, and identifying bureaucratic inefficiencies that were behind the failure to issue this guidance in a timely manner. In April, 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. On March 23, 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.