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Fishermen: NJ Losing Out on Aid for Fisheries [AUDIO]

A $75 million allocation from the federal government is devoted to disaster relief for fisheries that suffered losses over the past few years, but marine professionals in New Jersey claim the state is “getting the short end of the stick.”

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Baltic Sea Fishermen Face Uncertain Future
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

The funding announcement made late last month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doles out a total of $3 million to New Jersey and New York.

It had been estimated that recreational and commercial fishing losses caused by Superstorm Sandy 17 months ago amounted to $121 million in New Jersey.

“It’s very disappointing — $3 million between two states,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance based in New Gretna.

Donofrio suggested every fishing business owner would get a check for $75 or $80 if they looked for a piece of New Jersey’s appropriation.

“You feel like telling them to keep the money, because what are we going to do with that?” he continued, citing underwater tackle shops, lost boats and splintered marinas following Sandy.

The largest share of the funding is going to Sandy-impacted New England states. Alaska is getting more than $20 million for assistance with its salmon fisheries. States along the Gulf are getting a solid chunk of the funding as well.

Donofrio blamed members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation for failing to get the message across that New Jersey still needs help.

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) released a joint statement following NOAA’s announcement.

“We are incredibly disappointed and dumbfounded by NOAA’s disaster funding decision which directly ignores its own reporting of the losses faced by our fishing industry in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” the senators said.

 

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