(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations committee, today announced $40 million in fisheries assistance funding for Washington state fisheries, Tribes, and fishery-related businesses.
The funding comes from the allocation of $255 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to states and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. Allocations have not yet been announced for the additional $30 million provided by Congress for all federally recognized Tribes in coastal states and the Great Lakes. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on our state’s fisheries, Tribes, and businesses, this distribution of funds will help to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.
“Fishing and aquaculture are such a crucial part of the state’s economy and culture—especially for Washington state Tribes—so when fishing families are hurt by forces out of their control, like this pandemic, we must step up our support and do everything we can to help,” Senator Murray said. “I’m proud that we were able to provide relief to our hard-hit fishing communities and I will keep working to ensure these critically important funds are distributed quickly and efficiently.”
Assistance will be distributed by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission once the state’s spend plan is approved. This funding announcement follows action by Senator Murray throughout the past year to ensure the federal government addresses the needs of Washington state’s fishing and aquaculture industries, and that the state’s Tribes and fisheries receive support and aid to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Murray was able to help secure $300 million for the NOAA fishery disaster assistance program, including $50 million for Washington state, in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Last April, Senator Murray pushed the Office of Management and Budget, and succeeded, in distributing $8.4 million in long overdue fishery disaster relief funding for Washington state that she originally helped to procure in 2018.