WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) encouraged New Jersey fishermen affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for federal fishery disaster relief funds being administered by the state of New Jersey.  This comes in response to the state’s announcement that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will make more than $2 million in grants available to help offset the costs that fishing-related businesses and recreational fishing infrastructure, such marinas and bait-and-tackle shops, incurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy.  Congressman Pallone fought hard in Congress to see that these funds were appropriated to the state as part the Sandy Aid package and later as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 federal budget.

“New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fishing industries are vitally important to the state’s economy,” said Pallone.  “While I strongly believe that more federal funds should be made available to fishermen and fishing-related businesses that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy, I’m glad to see that the state is finally taking an important first step to get this relief money into the hands of those who need it.”  

At Pallone’s urging, Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, declared a federal fishery resource disaster in New Jersey in November 2012, so that local fishermen and businesses could get much-needed federal assistance in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  The Sandy relief package originally appropriated $5 million for fishery disaster relief in New York and New Jersey.  Congressman Pallone continued fighting for additional fishery disaster funds in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill which provided approximately $3 million in federal funds to New York and New Jersey fisheries that were declared fishery disasters. 

“The shore is my home, and I know what fishing means to life here,” Pallone added.  “We must make sure that the damages suffered by New Jersey fishermen are not forgotten as we continue to rebuild and recover.” 

Individuals and/or businesses in six fishing-related sectors—bait-and-tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fishermen, for-hire (party and charter) operations, marinas and shellfish/aquaculture—may submit Expression of Interest pre-applications to the DEP beginning October 1 until October 31.  The pre-application is only available online and can be accessed here