The Christie Administration this week requested a federal disaster declaration for New Jersey's commercial and recreational fishing industries. They were hit hard, physically and economically, by Sandy two and a half weeks ago.

Boats tossed onto the shore in Seaside Park by Hurricane Sandy
Boats tossed onto the shore in Seaside Park by Hurricane Sandy (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

The declaration from the federal government would trigger financial support and aid in securing disaster relief for impacted sectors of the industry.

"The storm resulted in significant losses, damaging or destroying vessels, ports, facilities and equipment," explained Governor Chris Christie.

Some coastal areas needed by the industry were left severely damaged or inaccessible.

The Governor and members of the state Department of Environmental Protection saw the destruction first-hand during post-storm tours.

"The Atlantic waters are good, but the coastal waters from New York Harbor down to Barnegat Light have been off-limits to fishing," said DEP's Larry Ragonese.

In 2011, the commercial and recreational industries generated an estimated $2.7 billion in economic activity for New Jersey.

"These aren't all corporate conglomerates," Ragonese added. "We're talking about mom-and-pop operations, smaller companies, people with a few boats. In many cases, it's their bread and butter, their livelihood."

Governor Christie said the declaration would help the fishing industry cope during "this time of great economic loss and hardship."

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