CHATHAM — The clouds may be dark, the weather stormy, but local fishermen stuck in port this week could at least celebrate two pieces of good news.
On Thursday the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced how it would distribute $6.9 million in federal fisheries disaster money. Most of the money, more than $6 million, would go to fishermen as direct aid that would reach more fishermen than originally proposed.
Initially, a state working group set qualifications for receiving the money that cut out more than half of the Chatham groundfish fleet.
Ten vessels in what is known as the Georges Bank Fixed Gear Sector, which operates out of Chatham, qualified for a share of the money under the original threshold of landing 20,000 pounds of groundfish in any year from 2012 to 2014. But local fishermen felt that excluded those who did not catch cod, haddock, flounder and other bottom-feeding groundfish species because they were no longer plentiful, but were still being required to pay for special observers, known as At-Sea Monitors, because their nets were capable of catching these fish.
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