by Adam Soliman
Although the Senate passed an emergency bill that included $150 million for four fisheries including the North-East groundfish fishery, the House did not act on the bill. They are expected to continue mid-January.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski stated that ”The bipartisan disaster assistance bill passed by the Senate provides resources to help recover and rebuild American lives and communities”. Although the bill is meant to deal with the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the $150 million would include both immediate economic relief as well as a targeted investment for the fleet.
This targeted investment plan is meant to help the fleet become sustainable. It would be interesting to know what will be included in this targeted investment plan and how it will help the coastal communities achieve sustainability goals. Policy makers must know that a “targeted investment plan” that aims to support large-scale producers (including processors) and neglects small family fishers might have adverse effects on coastal communities.