Groundfish payments

AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will soon make the third and final payment of federal disaster relief funds to 32 eligible Maine-based fishermen who hold federal Northeast multispecies (groundfish) permits. The payment will total $1.02 million.

To qualify, Maine permit holders must have landings of more than 5,000 pounds in any one fishing year from 2010-2013. In addition, permit holders must have landed a minimum of 5,000 pounds of groundfish in either fishing year 2013 or 2014. Fishing years run from May 1 to April 30.

“The intent of these criteria is to focus disaster relief efforts on permit holders who have historical dependence on groundfish and have had continued reliance on the groundfish fishery during the disaster years,” DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson said recently.

The payments allocated to eligible permit holders were based on a formula developed by the DMR after several outreach meetings with industry. Those payments, ranging from approximately $9,100 to $44,044, will reflect landings in fishing years 2013 and 2014 individually and combined.

The funds are a portion of the $3.3 million allocated to Maine from the $75 million appropriated by Congress to help buffer the effects of six fishery disasters, including the disaster declared in 2012 by the secretary of commerce as a result of significant quota cuts for key New England groundfish stocks.

Last year, the DMR distributed $640,005 to help Maine’s groundfish fleet and related shoreside industries by rebating dealer landings and handling fees.

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