(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) welcomed $603,820 to support New Hampshire fishermen impacted by the 2019 Atlantic herring fishery disaster. Shaheen led the delegation in a letter to former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in 2020 requesting a disaster declaration for the Atlantic herring fishery, to help combat serious economic hardship experienced by the fishing industry due to declining Atlantic herring stock and lower quotas. The funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“I’m glad to see over $600,000 in disaster funding available to support our fishermen who’ve been hard hit by the alarming decline in Atlantic herring. This crisis has devastated our fishing industry, particularly since Atlantic herring are used as bait for lobster and tuna fishing industries. This disaster assistance will help our fishing industry stay afloat,” said Senator Shaheen. “New Hampshire’s fishermen are critical to the Seacoast’s economy, and I’ll continue to work with NOAA and local officials to ensure our fishermen have the economic tools they need to stay in business.”
“New Hampshire’s fisheries are an integral part of our economy and our way of life, particularly on our Seacoast,” said Senator Hassan. “Unfortunately, fishery disasters, including the 2019 Atlantic herring fishing disaster, have impacted supply and caused economic losses in our fishing industry. The funding announced today will provide vital support to New Hampshire’s fishermen and give them important relief.”
“New Hampshire fisheries play a major role in our local food chains and state economy, but climate change poses a continued threat to the industry,” said Rep. Kuster. “It’s critically important that we support our Granite State fishermen and fisheries from the impact and turbulence of global warming. I am pleased to see this much-needed funding heading to New Hampshire to compensate our fishing industry for the 2019 Atlantic herring fishery disaster, and I will continue working to bolster our state’s resiliency against climate change.”
“New Hampshire’s seacoast is a vital part of our community and regional economy,” said Rep. Pappas. “The drastic reduction of herring supply that we have seen has had far-reaching effects, impacting our local fisheries, lobstermen, and restaurant industries. I fought hard to declare this a federal disaster so that our fishermen could access the critical funds needed to bounce back from these disruptions, and I’m pleased to see additional grants coming to our state to do just that.”
Shaheen has been a strong advocate for New Hampshire fishermen. As the Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Shaheen has repeatedly prevented the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from imposing the costly at-sea monitoring fee on Granite State fishermen and once again secured necessary funding to prevent the burden from being imposed on fishermen. Shaheen has also repeatedly secured funding for Northeast groundfish research and lobster research. Two years ago, Shaheen announced nearly $6 million in COVID-19 financial relief for New Hampshire fisheries that she helped secure as part of the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Shaheen also secured $6 million for Coast Guard fishing safety training and research grants.