The state, while publicly saying the process has not been finalized, has told Gloucester city officials it is changing how it will identify and distribute the $750,000 in federal fishery disaster aid to shore-side businesses hurt by the current fishing crisis.

The initial process called for port communities such as Gloucester to play a key role by identifying local shore-side businesses potentially eligible for assistance and collectively submitting the list to the state Division of Marine Fisheries for final determination on which will receive funds.

Now, according to Gloucester economic development officer Sal Di Stefano, the state is removing the municipalities from the formal process.

"Now the state will issue the RFP (request for proposal) and the companies will respond individually and directly to the state," Di Stefano said.

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