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AFTER THE STORM - NJ GOVERNOR AND CONGRESSMAN REQUEST FEDERAL FISHERY RESOURCES DISASTER RELIEF

Bait shops, charter and party boats forced to close early this year should benfit from proposed disaster relief.
By Chris Lido  |  November 12, 2012
Tags: special
AFTER THE STORM - NJ GOVERNOR AND CONGRESSMAN REQUEST FEDERAL FISHERY RESOURCES DISASTER RELIEF
David and Tammy Carbohn are just a few of many who will lose significant revenue this fall.

In a letter written to Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Governor Chris Christie requested a federal fishery resources disaster declaration for New Jersey. He stated, "New Jersey's fishing industry is not only a defining element of the Jersey Shore and a crucial tourism draw, but is also vital and essential component of New Jersey's coastal economy and invaluable recreational activity."

Governor Christie continued, "Indeed, New Jersey's fishing industry provides jobs for fishermen, fish processors, and related maritime support industries, among others. In 2011, New Jersey's commercial fishing industry landed roughly 175 million pounds of seafood, generating over $1.3 billion of economic activity. Similarly, the economic impact of recreational fishing is significant, supporting, according to industry, approximately 8,500 jobs and $1.4 billion in annual sales."

Several businesses are ready to open but access is still denied and anglers and consumers can't get to them. Case in point; Inlet Drive in Point Pleasant remains closed and boats like the Gambler and Norma K III can not sail, while they watch competitors leave the inlet daily. In Atlantic Highlands, the boats are ready but they lack a dock to return to.

“I join Governor Christie in asking the Department of Commerce to declare a federal fishery resource disaster in New Jersey so we may start the rebuilding process with the necessary resources for New Jersey’s fishing industry to quickly recover and thrive,” - Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.
Anthony Mauro, Chair, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) responded to Christie's letter, "We are heartened to see that Governor Christie, state legislators, and the Department of Environmental Protection continue to recognize the significant economic and environmental contributions made by outdoorsmen and women to New Jersey. These are businesses and people with families to feed."

Mauro said, "These contributions are both qualitative and quantitative. Conservationists are stewards of wildlife and the environment, while supporting businesses as diverse as tackle shops, charter boats, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, marinas, boating, etc. The debilitative impact from Sandy on these businesses is unprecedented."

The Christie letter also states, "The revenue loss for New Jersey's fishing industry is - both now and in the future - patent. Significant infrastructure and economic redevelopment will be needed to revive this badly damaged industry. For this reason, a federal catastrophic regional fishery disaster declaration and assistance via a regional economic transition program is appropriate. Such a declaration for New Jersey will assist in obtaining immediate disaster relief assistance for all negatively impacted fishermen, charter fishing operators, United States fish processors, and owners of related fishery infrastructure affected by the disaster."

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) also sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, "Hurricane Sandy’s impact on my district and much of New Jersey has been catastrophic,” said Pallone. “Our recreational and commercial fishing industries are feeling the blow, and federal assistance will go a long way to ensuring our fishing industry withstands this momentary setback and remains an economic driver for our state as we recover from Hurricane Sandy.”

In addition to the physical destruction to boats and fishing infrastructure caused by the storm, water quality has been compromised, shellfish harvesting has been suspended (recently opened back up in Delaware Bay) and marine debris has increased.

“I join Governor Christie in asking the Department of Commerce to declare a federal fishery resource disaster in New Jersey so we may start the rebuilding process with the necessary resources for New Jersey’s fishing industry to quickly recover and thrive,” added Pallone.

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