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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Declares Fisheries Disasters Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria


Today, in conjunction with the requests put forward by the Governors of Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross determined catastrophic fishery disasters occurred in the areas because of impacts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria that made landfall in August and September of 2017.

Under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Governors asked the Secretary of Commerce to determine whether a commercial fishery failure occurred due to a fishery resource disaster, in these cases caused by destructive hurricanes.

“The Department of Commerce and NOAA support the rebuilding efforts of communities across the Gulf which were devastated by hurricanes in the past year,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This declaration provides a path forward to helping fishermen and businesses recover and grow.”

Through these fishery disaster declarations, participants in the fisheries are now eligible for Small Business Administration disaster loans. Additionally, because these fisheries are in areas declared a Presidential disaster, public fishery infrastructure-related losses are eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance. Economic Development Administration grants and Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds are another potential source of assistance for fisheries pending allocations and grantee Action Plans.

NOAA looks forward to working closely with Congress and Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to continue to support recovery efforts.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our other social media channels.

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