, Salem, MA


March 3, 2014

Our view: Let's cheer when fishing aid reaches those that need it

There was a lot of good news last week regarding help for the New England fishery.

First came the word that $32.8 million of the $75 million in federal economic disaster aid targeted for America’s embattled fishermen and fishing communities is bound for New England.

While such federal aid generally comes with a ridiculous requirement of a 25 percent match from receiving states, the Department of Commerce has waived that mandate in this case. That, as NOAA regional director John Bullard noted, should mean more money in direct federal aid to the fishermen.

But you should excuse fishermen and even federal and state lawmakers if all this good news didn’t exactly touch off celebrations along the docks and in the halls of government, where people like Congressman John Tierney called it simply “the next critical step in the process.”

It’s clear that this money is still weeks and, likely, months from reaching them. There are other hurdles to clear, such as how much of the New England money will be steered through the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and how much of the funding will go, as it should, directly to the fishermen and other waterfront businesses affected by the federally recognized disaster.

The clock remains ticking on the groundfishing industry as May 1, the start of a new fishing year, draws near. And let’s not forget that the dire cuts in landing limits that have only exacerbated the economic disaster that prompted this aid are due to remain in place for another year, as well.

Unless that changes — and unless our federal lawmakers press hard for changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and NOAA’s current limits decree — no amount of one-time federal aid will be enough to address the industry’s true concerns.

Yes, this aid is a big step. But it’s now up to state and federal officials to accelerate the delivery of that aid into the hands that need it most. Perhaps then, there be some cause for a bit of celebration — or more likely, a hefty sigh of relief.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate