Push on for fisheries emergency relief

A bipartisan group of eight senators is asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to include disaster funds for coastal communities impacted by ongoing fisheries disasters in a relief package for communities affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

The letter to committee chairman Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and vice chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., noted that in the Pacific coastal states fisheries support not only harvesters but shipbuilders, hotels, restaurants and vessel support services.

“Prolonged diminished returns in fisheries have stifled economic development, threatened the financial stability of fishing families dependent upon the industry’s vitality, and severely endangered Native American subsistence and ceremonial harvests,” their letter said. “The longer these disasters go unaddressed, the more precarious the situation becomes for communities and families impacted.”

The letter was signed by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska; Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both D-Wash.; Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both D-Ore.; and Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both D-Calif.

Murkowski and Sullivan co-authored a letter in October urging that federal fisheries disaster funds be included in any emergency supplemental appropriations bill.