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Rep. Schrader Leads Bipartisan Effort to Protect Seafood Industry

Rep. Schrader Leads Bipartisan Effort to Protect Seafood Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Schrader led a bipartisan letter to House of Representatives leadership urging them to include support for America’s seafood industry in future Coronavirus relief legislation.

The seafood industry is critical to coastal communities across the country and in my home state of Oregon,” said Rep. Schrader. “Our fishermen and processing plants have faced significant hardships due to the Coronavirus but have been left out of previous funding packages. Because of the closures of restaurants nationwide, the seafood industry has been dealt a particularly devastating blow. I urge House leadership to allocate $2 billion to purchase nutritious seafood products to be distributed to Americans who need them most, and an additional $1.5 billion in direct funding to aid our fisheries.”

“U.S. seafood provides some of the healthiest and most sustainable proteins on the planet” said Frank Dulcich, President & CEO of Pacific Seafood. “The continuing public health response to COVID-19 has created uniquely significant challenges for our industry.  This proposal will help keep jobs in our coastal communities while providing nutritious proteins to American families in need, a true win-win.”

Senators Wyden, Murkowski, and Reed, joined by 22 of their bipartisan colleagues, sent a similar letter to Senate leadership.

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives H-232, U.S. Capitol Washington, DC 20515

May 7, 2020

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives H-204, U.S. Capitol Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy,

We write to urge the inclusion of support for the American seafood industry in the next coronavirus relief measure. Our seafood processors and fishermen have been dealt a significant economic blow as a result of coronavirus and are in desperate need of federal assistance.

The seafood industry is critical to local and regional economies across the country. In 2016, the industry supported over one million good-paying jobs and generated more than $144 billion in sales, adding an estimated $61 billion to the nation’s GDP. In addition to the jobs, families, and communities it supports along every part of our country’s coastlines, the seafood industry fuels jobs throughout the country in processing and distribution.

Due to efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has led to a near total shutdown of restaurants and other outlets serving fresh seafood, the supply chain of fishermen and seafood processors has been decimated. Notably, more than 68% of the $102.2 billion that consumers paid for U.S. fishery products in 2017 was spent at food service establishments. It has been reported that many of the nation’s fisheries have suffered sales declines as high as 95 percent. In addition, while many other agricultural sectors have seen a significant increase in grocery sales, seafood has been left out of that economic upside, as stores have cut back on offerings.

We strongly urge you to include in the next coronavirus stimulus package at least $2 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase domestically harvested and processed seafood products and distribute them to local, state, and national non-profits providing food to hungry Americans. Given that few seafood producers have historically participated in USDA commodity purchasing programs, we request that $1 billion be set aside to finance the purchase by USDA of seafood products that have not typically been purchased and that have experienced economic impacts as a result of coronavirus.

We also ask that you include an additional $1.5 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the terms of section 12005 of the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) in order to provide direct relief to Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants impacted by coronavirus. We request that Congress appropriate and permit the Secretary to make funding available as soon as practicable to all fishery participants, including commercial and recreational fishing and seafood businesses that have been impacted by declines in tourism and the closure of restaurants and other food services industries.

The seafood industry is currently facing an unprecedented collapse in demand because of the novel coronavirus. We urge you to facilitate the government purchase of seafood products that would both ensure stability in this key sector and provide healthy, domestically produced food for Americans.

Thank you for your attention to this critical request, and for your continued support of America’s seafood industry.

Sincerely,

Kurt Schrader Member of Congress

Jared Huffman Member of Congress

Steven M. Palazzo Member of Congress

Garret Graves Member of Congress

/s/ David Rouzer Member of Congress

/s/ Salud Carbajal Member of Congress

/s/ Robert J. Wittman Member of Congress

/s/ Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Member of Congress

/s/ William R. Keating Member of Congress

/s/ Peter A. DeFazio Member of Congress

/s/ Elaine G. Luria Member of Congress

/s/ Chellie Pingree Member of Congress

/s/ Alan Lowenthal Member of Congress

/s/ Donna E. Shalala Member of Congress

/s/ Derek Kilmer Member of Congress

/s/ Lisa Blunt Rochester Member of Congress

/s/ Seth Moulton Member of Congress

/s/ Randy K. Weber Member of Congress

/s/ Don Young Member of Congress

/s/ Jimmy Panetta Member of Congress

/s/ Andy Harris, M.D. Member of Congress

/s/ Ed Case Member of Congress

/s/ Joe Cunningham Member of Congress

/s/ Suzan K. DelBene Member of Congress

/s/ W. Gregory Steube Member of Congress

/s/ Rick Larsen Member of Congress

/s/ Stephen F. Lynch Member of Congress

/s/ Bennie G. Thompson Member of Congress

/s/ Pramila Jayapal Member of Congress

/s/ Suzanne Bonamici Member of Congress

/s/ Lee Zeldin Member of Congress

/s/ Jared Golden Member of Congress

/s/ Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M. Member of Congress

/s/ G. K. Butterfield Member of Congress

/s/ Matt Gaetz Member of Congress

/s/ Stephanie Murphy Member of Congress

/s/ Alcee L. Hastings Member of Congress

/s/ David N. Cicilline Member of Congress

/s/ Gregory F. Murphy, M.D. Member of Congress

/s/ Jaime Herrera Beutler Member of Congress

/s/ Thomas R. Suozzi Member of Congress

/s/ Charlie Crist Member of Congress

/s/ Joseph P. Kennedy, III Member of Congress

/s/ Filemon Vela Member of Congress

/s/ Darren Soto Member of Congress

/s/ Jackie Speier Member of Congress

/s/ Jenniffer González-Colón Member of Congress

/s/ Christopher H. Smith Member of Congress

/s/ Denny Heck Member of Congress

 

 

 

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