WASHINGTON DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank urging that the Department declare a federal fishery resource disaster in New Jersey so local fishermen and businesses may receive much-needed federal assistance. Hurricane Sandy devastated much of coastal New Jersey and severely impacted the state’s fishing industry and the infrastructure that supports it.

New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fishing industries are vitally important to the state’s economy. According to the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fishery Service, the New Jersey seafood industry supported almost $6 million in sales and approximately 38,000 jobs in 2009, and the recreational fishing sector supported $1.4 million in sales and more than 8,500 jobs. The fishing industry also helps grow the state’s largest industry—tourism. 

“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 and marine debris has increased. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also submitted a request to the Department of Commerce for such a disaster declaration.

“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.