Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden announced today that Maine lobstermen, fishermen, and other Mainers working in the seafood supply chain will receive a total of $20,166,476. The funding represents the fifth-highest amount being awarded among 31 recipients.
Senator Collins and Representative Pingree worked with bipartisan groups of their colleagues from coastal states to secure $300 million in the CARES Act specifically to assist fishermen and fishery-related businesses such as dealers, processors, and aquaculture operations affected by COVID-19. Collins, King, Pingree, and Golden have all written the administration to call on them to quickly release this urgently needed financial assistance.
“The hardworking men and women in Maine’s lobster and fishing industries are facing severe financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed restaurants and reduced exports,” said the Maine Delegation. “This targeted relief will provide crucial support for workers, help our seafood supply chains survive, and assist the families and communities that depend on this important economic sector.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allocating funds proportionately based on a multi-year average of the total annual revenue of each region’s commercial fishing, charter fishing, processor, and aquaculture sectors. This method allows NOAA to utilize data that are readily available while accounting for regional variability in the size of commercial, charter, processor, and aquaculture industries.
These funds may be awarded on a rolling basis, and within a fishing season, to ensure rapid delivery of funds during the pandemic. Later today, NOAA will be releasing guidance on its rollout plan, including more information on eligibility and how this funding will be distributed. In general, states will work in collaboration with their regional fisheries commissions to develop specific state spend plans. In Maine, the Maine Department of Marine Resources will be leading the effort in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Senator Collins and Representative Pingree serve on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, respectively.
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