Fishermen struggling to keep their businesses afloat amid reductions in catch limits and groundfish stocks will now be eligible for financial assistance after the Small Business Association (SBA) approved Governor Deval Patrick’s request for an economic injury disaster declaration.
“This is a recognition that federal policies are putting people out of business when it comes to our storied fishing industry,” said Representative Jim Cantwell, D-Marshfield. “It’s similar to when there is a severe drought or a flood or a frost in the South and family farmers are put at risk. The federal government comes in to assist them and try to keep them in business.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce declared commercial fishery failure for the Northeast groundfish fishing industry in September 2012.
“The fishing industry is crucial to the character and economic vitality of Massachusetts,” said Patrick in a released statement. “While we will continue to push for additional disaster assistance from Congress, these loans will aid in the preservation of our fishermen, their families and the economies of our coastal communities and fishing ports.”