THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON APPROVES $53 MILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR FISHERMEN IN NORTHEAST, NORTHWEST AND GULF OF MEXICO; EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR OKLAHOMA
The President made available $53 million in emergency funds today to fishermen in the Northeast, the Northwest, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The assistance will be provided by the Commerce Department to fishermen and to fishery-dependent businesses that have sustained heavy uninsured losses from the collapse of commercial fish stocks and other disasters.
"I am taking this action today because fishermen in the Northeast, the Northwest, and the Gulf of Mexico have suffered millions of dollars in losses because the source of their livelihood -- fisheries resources -- has been disappearing," the President said.
"Fishing is critical to the economy and way of life of hundreds of communities in these regions of the country. We need to respond to the needs of families and communities who have suffered losses, and we will do so."
The $53 million comes out of $65 million that the 1993 Department of Defense Appropriations Act provided to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for fishery resource disasters. The President previously made available the other $12 million.
Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown paved the way for today's release of the funds. Using his authority under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act, he signed a "Declaration of Fishery Disasters" on July 11 for New England groundfish fisheries, Pacific Northwest salmon fisheries, and the Gulf of Mexico fisheries.
The funds that the President made available today will provide grants to persons who are engaged in commercial fisheries and who have suffered uninsured losses as a result of a fishery resource disaster.
The President also made available today the following emergency funds that were appropriated in P.L. 104-19, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Additional Disaster Assistance, for Anti-terrorism Initiatives, for Assistance in the Recovery from the Tragedy that Occurred in Oklahoma City, and Rescissions Act of 1995:
These funds will support emergency requirements resulting from the bombing in Oklahoma City, enhanced anti-terrorism efforts, and other disaster-related needs. The Justice Department and Judiciary funds are available immediately; the FEMA funds will be available on October 1.