Thursday Sep 13, 201211:36 PM GMT
Disaster declaration issued for NE groundfish industry
Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:34PM
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Fishing boats lay idle in Menemsha Harbor this summer.


The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday declared a national fishery disaster for the northeast United States as a result of severely low stocks of key groundfish species such as cod and flounder.


The declaration, which came after a two-year campaign by members of the region's congressional delegation, clears the way for disaster aid to be allocated to coastal communities.


Fishery disasters were also declared in Alaska, because of low returns of Chinook salmon in some key regions, and Mississippi, where flooding in the spring of 2011 damaged some of the state's oyster and blue crab fisheries. The Chicago Tribune




U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and other Massachusetts lawmakers have requested $100 million in economic disaster assistance. Reuters


In Alaska, Secretary Blank determined that Alaska had suffered a Fisheries Resource Disaster in three regions. Those regions are the Yukon, the Kuskokwim and the Cook Inlet.


The crux of the problem for the fishing industry is that despite reduced catch limits in recent years, several key fish stocks in the formerly teeming waters of the Gulf of Maine and on the Georges Bank off the New England coast are not rebuilding, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said. The Chicago Tribune


The number of Maine groundfish boats with revenue from at least one groundfishing trip decreased by 33 percent, from 63 vessels to 42 vessels, between 2009 and 2010, according to the governor's letter.




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