Mass. Fishing Industry Catches Federal Aid Haul

Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 06:38 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Massachusetts will net a portion of $75 million in federal aid for its struggling fisheries industry, part of the $1 trillion Congressional spending bill, the Gloucester Times reported Tuesday.

The bill will also allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility that employs 200 people to remain in Gloucester, Mass.

"This is great news for our fishermen and our fishing communities like Gloucester," Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) told the Times. "We went from $0 to $75 million in the House." Initially the region's lawmakers had asked for $150 million.

The House is expected to vote on the full Appropriations bill Wednesday, followed by the Senate vote.

"The fight to restore the Massachusetts fishing industry continues. But this is a good day for our fishing industry and shows that when we work together, we can still make the government serve people." Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass) said in a statement.

New England's cod fish catch rates were slashed by 77 percent in response to low cod stocks, leaving thousands of fisherman, seafood processors and restaurants, and other related industries in dire financial straits. The Secretary of Commerce declared an economic disaster for the Northeast cod, flounder and haddock fisheries in 2012.

The $75 million will go to the Department of Commerce, which will split the aid between several regions, including Florida, Mississippi, Alaska, New York and New Jersey, the Cape Cod Times reported.

"We will work with Commerce and the state and of course our folks up in the region to get a distribution that reflects what our needs are," Tierney said. "We will try to make sure they reflect what the communities think is the best way to spend it."

There's more good news for Massachusetts.

MIT scientists are getting a massive $22 million infusion for the Alcator C-Mod facility, which examines nuclear fusion as a potential energy source. Harvard and other research facilities will also benefit from the independent federal National Science Foundation's new $7 billion budget, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.


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