Senator Wicker Legislation Changes Department of Commerce Fishery Disaster Assistance Timeline

Assistance Will Reach the Industry Almost 300 Days Faster

March 25, 2024

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., pushed through Congress signature legislation that would enable disaster assistance to reach the fishery industry, on average, almost an entire year sooner.

Previously, after natural disasters, it took the U.S. Department of Commerce an average of 480 days to declare that a state’s fisheries suffered a “disaster.” Then, after that decision had been made, it took an average of 156 days to approve the allocation of funds.

The first step of the process has improved to an average of 182 days; the second half has lowered to 91. This is just the first year of implementation of the new process, and there may be further improvements in the future.

“After years of work, we’re finally seeing our efforts come to fruition,” Senator Wicker said. “Waiting years for disaster relief isn’t realistic. I introduced this legislation to expedite the process so our fishery industry and communities can recover in a reasonable timeframe. This will make a difference for so many Mississippians.”

Senator Wicker previously introduced the Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act as the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee. It passed Congress as part of government funding legislation in 2022.