VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – On Wednesday, Congresswoman Elaine Luria released a letter written to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross outlining the need for nearly $10 million in relief for Virginia’s fisheries and complete transparency with NOAA’s recent funding distribution.
The CARES Act, Section 12005 directs the Department of Commerce to distribute $300 million to the seafood and fishery industry businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
NOAA released its plan last week for distributing these funds throughout each state, of which $4,520,475 is slated to go to Virginia fisheries, which is about 1.5% of the total allocation.
“It is unacceptable that NOAA’s allocation decision does not reflect the dramatic losses Virginia watermen have faced as a result of this pandemic and does not accurately calculate the contribution of Virginia’s fisheries industries to the national seafood industry,” said Luria. “I urge NOAA to immediately revise its allocation formula to provide Virginia at least $10 million in CARES Act fisheries funding.”
Luria’s letter states that this amount undervalues Virginia’s contribution to the national seafood industry. In a statement released by Luria’s office and officials says that Virginia’s fisheries industries make up nearly 7.4% of the nation’s total aquaculture sales.
“NOAA’s current allocation formula means that Virginia watermen will receive far less per dollar of aquaculture sales and commercial fishery landings and less per seafood processing and wholesale worker than individuals in other states,” said officials in the release.
The bipartisan letter is a joint partnership between Luria and Virginia delegation colleagues Representatives Rob Wittman (VA-01), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Don McEachin (VA-04), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), and Gerry Connolly (VA-11).
More information can be found online.
An earlier version of this post stated ‘$20 million’ in the title; this has since been corrected to reflect ‘$10 million.’