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NE Fishermen Shut Out Of House Disaster Aid Bill

Nick Brancaleone of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, a Gloucester-based industry group, said the coalition is "extremely disappointed" by the House bill. He said the aid is critically needed and justified by the disaster declaration.

"Fishermen have and will continue to face insurmountable challenges with reduced landings and low revenues," he said.

In its $60 billion Sandy relief bill, the Senate included $150 million for fishermen. But the House didn't take up the bill before the last Congress ended this month, and the legislation expired.

The Senate will again consider a Sandy relief bill, and a spokesman for Sen. John Kerry said he's hopeful the Senate will restore the money for fishermen.

"There's no reason why Sandy relief and fisheries assistance can't both be included in this package," said spokesman Alec Gerlach.

Still, the differences between the House and Senate versions must be worked out in a final bill. And with the House already rejecting aid for New England's industry, prospects for any money remain uncertain.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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