WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today convened the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for a hearing titled, “Fishery Failures: Improving the Disaster Declaration and Relief Process.” During the hearing, the chairman announced that U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross approved a federal fishery disaster declaration and relief process for Mississippi.
“I supported Governor Phil Bryant’s request for a fishery disaster declaration, and I have been working with NOAA to make sure Mississippi gets the relief it needs,” Wicker said. “Late yesterday, I received the good news from the Secretary of Commerce that he is officially declaring a Fishery Disaster for Mississippi. This is welcome news for Mississippi fishing communities now, but problems remain with the fisheries disasters declaration process. Our fishermen deserve more timely consideration and relief.”
The Commerce Committee is considering reforms to federal law that would provide fishermen with disaster relief more quickly. In July, Chairman Wicker introduced the “Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations (Fishery FUNDD) Act” that would reform the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)’s Fishery Resource Disaster Relief program of the National Marine Fisheries Service, making improvements to provide fishermen with disaster relief more quickly. Last month, Chairman Wicker sent a letter with Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in support of Governor Phil Bryant’s request for a federal fisheries disaster declaration. The Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service.