EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 28, 2014

N.H. fishermen wait for allotment of federal funds

$33M in fishery disaster relief awarded to New England states

SEABROOK — Officials at Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative are pleased about the nearly $33 million in fishery disaster relief funds allocated to those in the Northeast who make their livings on the sea, but they have yet to learn how much of the money will trickle down to New Hampshire’s commercial groundfishing fleet owners.

“It’s good news and we want to thank all of New Hampshire’s congressional delegates who fought with us on this,” said Peter Kendall, manager of Yankee Fisherman’s Co-op and a member of the New England Fishery Management Council. “We know New Hampshire will get some of the money, but we won’t know how much for a couple of weeks.”

Kendall said the money should come down through the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to groundfishermen, but it’s unclear exactly how it will be distributed.

“Some money could be set aside in a buy-back plan, to buy back (groundfishing) permits and boats from commercial fishermen,” Kendall said. “And what’s left, hopefully, could go to help offset the income lost by New Hampshire groundfishermen over the past year, and perhaps for the next year or two. But we don’t know if it will save the New Hampshire groundfish industry.”

Groundfish includes some of the most popular species of fish consumed in New England, including cod, haddock, pollack and flounder.

New Hampshire District 1 U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-Rochester, announced on Wednesday that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will allocate $32.8 million in fishery disaster relief funds to the Northeast, and further, that it waived the 25 percent state match requirement.

“Allocating this funding and waiving the match requirement will help New Hampshire fishermen get back on their feet after incredible hardships,” Shea-Porter said. “The fishing industry is vital to our economy, and this funding is crucial to the livelihood of fishermen and Seacoast communities.”

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