Steve Bittenbender

Contributing Editor

Steve Bittenbender works as a freelance journalist based in Louisville, Kentucky. Besides working for SeafoodSource.com as a contributing editor, Steve also works as an editor for Government Security News and as the Kentucky correspondent for the Reuters News Service. He also works as a sports writer for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal and The Associated Press. He has received awards from the Kentucky Press Association and the Louisville Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for his on-going and enterprise reporting work.

Published on
May 13, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will not increase the cap on H-2B visas for the 2020 fiscal year, but the agency is implementing a new rule it said will give food processors more flexibility to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rule, scheduled to be published Thursday, 14 May, will allow companies to hire current visa holders already in the country for work, according to a statement posted on the U.S.

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Published on
May 12, 2020

A regional fishery management council sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump late last week urging his administration to ease limitations on fishing in the nation’s Pacific marine monuments, saying the restrictions hinder American tuna fishing.

The letter, penned by Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council Chair Archie Taotasi Soliari and Executive Director Kitty Simonds, was dated Friday, 8 May, a day after the

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Published on
May 8, 2020

On Thursday, 7 May, the Trump administration finally rolled out its plan for allocating the USD 300 million (EUR 276.6 million) in fishery relief aid earmarked in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Reaction on Capitol Hill was nearly unanimous – more money will be needed, according to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The U.S. Commerce Department awarded a third of the funding to two states, Alaska and

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Published on
May 5, 2020

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced on Monday, 4 May, it had purchased USD 470 million (EUR 433.4 million) worth of agricultural products as part of its COVID-19 response, with nearly 15 percent of that spent on seafood products.

According to a USDA release, the USD 70 million (EUR 64.6 million) in seafood, along with the remaining agricultural goods, will go to the department’s Section 32 program, which purchases surpluses and

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Published on
May 5, 2020

More than 200 independent fishermen, seafood businesses, and their advocates sent a letter on 4 May to members of the Trump administration and key congressional leaders urging them to help the struggling industry, and make them aware of the plight smaller ventures face due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter thanks the officials for their efforts so far, including the USD 300 million (EUR 276.8 million) in disaster relief assistance provided

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Published on
May 4, 2020

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) on Tuesday, 28 April approved regulations that would allow it to take management control of the state’s menhaden fishery.

The commission’s approval will allow the state to begin its menhaden fishery, scheduled to start on Monday, 4 May, on time. VMRC Chief of Fisheries Management Pat Geer told commission members their approval also means the state will avoid having a moratorium placed

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Published on
April 30, 2020

Lawmakers from the U.S. state of Massachusetts sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday, 29 April, citing their “frustration and concern” over the lack of action on a USD 300 million (EUR 274.1 million) relief package for American fisheries that Congress passed a month ago.

In the letter, U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, along with U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton and Bill Keating, sent Ross a list of five

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Published on
April 24, 2020

On Friday, 24 April, as U.S. President Donald Trump signed an extension of small business COVID-19 relief programs into law, a national group of independent fishermen set aside the day to make sure they and their colleagues had access to the programs designed to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic.

It comes a day after the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and others held a webinar for fishermen and crew members on the

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Published on
April 23, 2020

Seafood Harvesters of America sent U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross a letter on Thursday, 23 April, calling on the Commerce Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to communicate how it will use the USD 300 million (EUR 278.2 million) in COVID-19 relief funding to help the nation’s fishermen.

That money was allocated in the USD 2.2 trillion (EUR 2.04 trillion) CARES Act, which Congress passed last

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Published on
April 22, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a USD 19 billion (EUR 17.6 billion) relief program to give “critical support” for farmers and ranchers to ensure the integrity of the country’s food chain during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a White House briefing on Friday, 17 April, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the money will be split among two programs, with USD 16 billion (EUR 14.8 billion) earmarked for direct

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