Why the Fishing Industry Might Need a Bailout
Farmers aren't the only ones who have been hit hard by Trump's tariffs.
Farmers aren’t the only ones who need emergency aid to counteract the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs: That was the message a group of Democratic members of Congress was pushing late last week as they introduced a bill to extend disaster relief for the fishing industry.
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal government is authorized to provide financial relief to commercial fisheries which have faced losses due to natural or man-made disasters. A new bill spearheaded by Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts would expand the definition of a disaster to include “unilateral tariffs imposed by other countries on any United States seafood,” according to the Associated Press. The news followed closely on the heels of an announcement earlier in the week that the Trump administration would be providing $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by America’s burgeoning trade war.
Moulton, along with Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, California Rep. Jared Huffman, and Arizona Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, also co-signed a letter to Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross laying out the case for seafood industry relief funds. “Farmworkers are not the only Americans that are losing out in this trade war with China,” the letter stated, according to The Salem News. “We respectfully request you give the same consideration to the hardworking fishermen and women of America who are being hurt by your policies and direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide emergency assistance to working families of the water.”
Admittedly, the value of American seafood exports is far smaller than farm exports. According to Reuters, the U.S. exported $138 billion in agricultural products last year; meanwhile, National Fisherman states that U.S. seafood exports were a mere $5.4 billion by comparison. Still, any figure in the billions isn’t something to shrug at. And as the AP points out, certain subsections of the seafood business can be especially vulnerable, like America’s lobster industry. Just yesterday, the Portland Press Herald reported on one Maine lobster company which expects to lose $10 million in sales alone because of the new tariffs.