WASHINGTON, DC—New Jersey’s hard-hit fishing industry, rocked by the coronavirus restrictions that have all but brought their businesses to a standstill, will receive assistance to the tune of $11,337,797 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and economic Security (CARES) Act, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).
“As the second most impacted state in the nation in terms of COVID-19 cases and deaths—and the corresponding shutdown to contain the coronavirus—our New Jersey fishing industry has been hammered. This aid is aimed to help mitigate the immediate economic consequences for fishing families and businesses along New Jersey’s 130-mile shoreline, including in Ocean and Monmouth counties in my district,” said Smith, a strong supporter of the CARES Act which passed the House and was signed into law on March 27.
The funds were unveiled May 7 by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
According to Smith, “Only this week fishermen in Ocean and Monmouth counties have again updated me about their continuing, worsening struggles. The simple matter is that New Jersey fishermen are hit harder than most states because we are at the epicenter of COVID-19, and we must make sure that they get the assistance from NOAA they so critically need.”
“The people who work in the fisheries industry put food on the tables of Americans, and I will continue to support efforts to help them and their families as they struggle through this crisis. I have also urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase seafood products through its existing public assistance programs to help the feed hungry in our communities,” explained Smith.
“The COVID-19 impact is being felt not only in fisheries and fishing communities, but by the local charter boats and other businesses that rely upon the industry, the local governments that depend on the revenue generated by these activities, and other industries—such as tourism—that are a long time staple on the Jersey Shore. The fishing industry needs help to survive these times. This funding is a step in that direction,” said Smith.