Supporters of the commercial fishing industry received some good news in late 2023 when the federal legislation known as H.R. 4618 –commonly called the Supporting Commercial Fishing in Port Infrastructure Projects Act – passed both the House and Senate as part of the Maritime Administration Reauthorization Act.
The legislation, introduced in mid-July and sponsored by Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Ore., was approved in mid-December and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden in the coming days.
It explicitly allows ports to apply for infrastructure grants to support commercial fishing, and in turn boost coastal communities’ jobs and economies.
Hoyle has said she introduced the Act because current law didn’t make it explicitly clear whether ports can apply for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grants supporting commercial fishing.
The legislation states that any secured PIDP funds can be utilized to support the loading and unloading of commercially harvested fish and fish products. The bill also ensures that ports may apply for federal funding through the Maritime Administration’s PIDP for port infrastructure projects that support commercial fishing and the employment that comes with it.
At the time of the bill’s introduction, Hoyle noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial fisheries in Oregon generated about $558 million for Oregon’s economy.
“We need to clear through any red tape to ensure federal funding can help our commercial fishing industry,” said the congresswoman, who represents Oregon’s fourth congressional district, which includes Benton, Coos, Curry, Lane and Lincoln counties, as well as part of Douglas County.
“I’m thrilled to pass this important bill into law,” she said in a statement.
“This law will help ports modernize their infrastructure and support the growth and sustainability of our fishing industry, ensuring that this industry can continue generating economic growth, jobs and sustainability in all coastal communities,” she added.
A record $2.25 billion is being provided over five years for the PIDP under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The package is the largest federal investment to date in the nation’s ports.
Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached by phone at (619) 313-4351 or via email at email@example.com.