Not so fast on a federal disaster declaration for the Chesapeake
Governor Moore’s recent request to the federal government for a federal disaster declaration for the Chesapeake Bay is well intentioned but is not the best approach for improving the immediate and longer-term health of the Bay.
Governor Moore’s more recent initiative to address the serious and steadily increasing negative impact of invasive blue catfish in the Bay is a much better approach and merits much greater support.
That initiative is to allocate $6.1 million in grant funding from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. This program connects local farmers, watermen, waterwomen, and fresh seafood processors with Maryland food banks.
At the Delmarva Fisheries Association (DFA), we fully agree with Governor Moore’s observation that, “We do not need to choose between supporting agriculture, supporting our seafood sector and fighting hunger. We can and we must do all the above at absolutely the same time.”
Just as importantly, the measurable results of the new funding for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program can be monitored and adjusted continuously if or when needed.
Now is the time to move quickly and boldly on the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program.
At DFA we look forward to such action as soon as possible as another step in helping to ensure the wild seafood harvests in the Chesapeake Bay will not only survive, but also thrive.
Chair, Delmarva Fisheries Association, Inc.