May 7, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) announced that they helped secure $50 million in support for Washington’s non-tribal fishing and shellfish industries. The funding, which is the highest award amount in the country, comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, for states, Tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. The Representatives also helped secure an additional $5 million for West Coast tribes.
“In Washington, our coastal fishing and shellfish industries are an essential part of our local economies,” said Rep. Kilmer. “With much of the nation’s economy currently shut down to keep people safe, our local, tribal and commercial fisheries and shellfish growers are facing unprecedented and severe consequences. This critical funding will help keep folks on payroll and ensure that our fisheries can continue to thrive on our coasts for generations to come.”
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has put an incredible strain on Southwest Washington businesses, causing severe economic losses for our coastal fishing and shellfish industries,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler. “I was pleased to help secure this funding for our coastal fishermen and shellfish growers to provide a level of certainty that will help them tread water until their businesses are back up and running.”
On April 9, Reps. Kilmer and Herrera Beutler joined a bipartisan group of over 30 Members of Congress in a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the Commerce Department to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), impacted stakeholders, and Native American tribes to rapidly provide this assistance.
Today, Reps. Kilmer and Herrera Beutler also joined a bipartisan group of Members in urging congressional leaders to include an additional $1.5 billion in future coronavirus relief measures to further support Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants impacted by the coronavirus.