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After the coast of Maine was left devastated by dual storms shortly into the new year, many individuals within the fishing community have been looking for where to turn. Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA) welcomes applications from property owners who serve commercial fishing businesses to apply for the MCFA Storm Recovery Fund, which is expected to make 25-30 grants of $5 thousand. The deadline for applications is June 14.

If you have struggled to find funding from other sources and are a more discreet working waterfront business, MCFA may be able to help. They hope to prioritize smaller properties that may not qualify for other funding assistance within the state.

In addition to MCFA, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Maine Emergency Agency, Island Institute, and many other fishing groups have helped support the community through the past months of cleanup and rebuilds. The Maine legislature also took a significant step by including $60 million in aid to Maine communities and businesses for the fiscal year 2024-2025.

“While coastal Maine counties were declared a major disaster, many working waterfront properties are still struggling to find funds to rebuild,” MCFA shared. “Thanks to generous donors, local businesses, and others, MCFA was able to put together a fund to be able to help smaller working waterfront properties that are not able to access funds anywhere else.”

MCFA has graciously kept their application simple, asking a few questions to further understand your property’s history, what happened during the storm(s), and a rebuilding plan. They stated that they are happy to help with the cost of materials, services, equipment, and other needs, but unfortunately, they can’t help fund the replacement of fishing gear. If they receive more applications than they can fund, they will choose recipients through a lottery process.

“Honestly, we wish we could do more,” Monique Coombs, MCFA director of community programs told National Fisherman. “Maine's working waterfront is changing rapidly, and it's hard to keep pace with gentrification, rising costs, and finding the capital necessary to shore up infrastructure. We truly need all hands on deck.”

 

MCFA also wanted to share that though this fund is made available to small working waterfront properties, they also have staff available to help larger properties apply for the DMR/ DOT funding from the state’s Working Waterfront Resilient Grant.

Feel free to contact MCFA with further questions. Regarding the MCFA Storm Recovery Fund, contact Monique at [email protected] or visit the application page.

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Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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