Feds to Give DMR $1 Million To Preserve Maine Small Boat Groundfish Industry



HALLOWELL — For a long time, state and federal fisheries regulators have had nothing but bad news for the Maine groundfish industry.

At the beginning of the last decade, nearly 200 draggers lined up at piers in Portland and other Maine harbors such as Rockland, Port Clyde and even Southwest Harbor to unload catches of cod, haddock and other groundfish.  Now, no more than 60 draggers call Maine home and scarcely more than that unload groundfish in the state. — COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWS PHOTO
At the beginning of the last decade, nearly 200 draggers lined up at piers in Portland and other Maine harbors such as Rockland, Port Clyde and even Southwest Harbor to unload catches of cod, haddock and other groundfish. Now, no more than 60 draggers call Maine home and scarcely more than that unload groundfish in the state. — COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWS PHOTO

 

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced that it would give the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) at least $1 million to fund a “permit banking” program that could bring at least some measure of cheer to the state’s struggling small-boat groundfish fleet.

The funds will allow DMR to purchase federal groundfish permits and their associated fishing rights, whether days-at-sea or annual catch shares, from the permit holders. The department can then lease those rights to qualifying fishing vessels, giving them increased access to the limited groundfish resource.

Fishermen who want to participate in the program have to meet several qualifications. Their boat must be no larger than 45 feet in length and must already have a federal multispecies groundfish permit. The fishermen must also live in communities with no more than 30,000 residents — not a problem for most Maine fishermen.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

 

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