A public meeting is being held this evening at the MA Division of Marine Fisheries offices in Gloucester to discuss the means in which the recently awarded federal aid package will be distributed to local fishermen who have been affected by the ongoing regulatory crisis. As noted in earlier posts, Congress recently passed legislation awarding a total of $75 million in federal aid to help offset the impacts of drastic reductions to local groundfish quotas over the past few years.
Once this funding has been appropriated, it is likely that it will be distributed to individual marine fisheries state departments across the nation in states where fisheries disasters have been declared. In similar situations in the past here in Massachusetts, the Division of Marine Fisheries has been tasked with determining a formula for distributing this funding fairly and effectively. Tonight’s meeting has been scheduled to gather feedback from industry members and local advocates. Topics for discussion will most likely include terms for funding eligibility, allowable expenses to be covered by these funds, and the expected timetable for distributing the aid.
State Senator Bruce Tarr made the following statement earlier this month regarding the distribution of this federal aid package:
“Now that funding for the fishing industry is on the fast track in Washington, it’s critical that we lay the groundwork for its effective use in Massachusetts to keep the industry alive through this ongoing crisis. The meetings being conducted by DMF will be a prime opportunity to get that process started by building the consensus that can only come from focused and candid conversations with the people, businesses and organizations that are at risk.
I am pleased that DMF is responding promptly to the request that I have made with Representative Ferrante to get this discussion underway. We need to make sure that money is being spent to meet the needs of fishing families and ports and not any particular bureaucracy or collateral interest.”
Here are the details on this evening’s meeting:
Preserving and Protecting the Massachusetts Groundfish Industry
January 27, 2014, 6pm-8pm
MA Division of Marine Fisheries
30 Emerson Ave. Gloucester MA
Please check back for a full report on the outcome of this meeting as well as more general coverage of the fisheries crisis impacting New England’s historic groundfish fleet.