MA Fishing industry hurting, congress looking to help

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — Things have been slow at the Port of New Bedford.

The fishing industry is hurting since restaurants have been shut down. Local fisherman estimate nearly 70% of seafood consumed in the country is done so in restaurants.

“We’re probably scaled down at this point about half of where we would be historically from a head-count perspective,” explained Keith Decker, president and CEO of Blue Harvest Fisheries in New Bedford.

Decker says many of New Englands biggest exports — like lobster and scallops— are not being bought, and prices are way down.

Massachusetts congressional delegation secured $300 million for it’s fishing industry through the Cares Act in late March, but that money hasn’t hit the docks yet.

“We’re proud of the money we got put in the Cares Act,” said Representative Seth Moulton, (D) MA.

“That is our job in congress, but its up to the administration to get this to the fisherman’s docks,” he said.

Last Friday, the delegation sent a letter to the USDA, asking them to include the East Coast fishing industry in their $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which aims to support ranchers and farmers affected by the pandemic.

Fishermen say they just want the same help that farmers and ranchers are receiving.

No work yet from the USDA if their Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will help the seafood industry.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, New Bedford, News