Many Cape Cod fishermen, operating under shrunken quotas for cod, have shifted their focus to catching other fish species such as dogfish, skate and monkfish.

But that business decision, some lawmakers worry, could be jeopardizing the fishermen's ability to qualify for the last pot of federal disaster relief funding being dispersed by the Baker administration to help offset the hit to their livelihoods from declining fish populations.

The Division of Marine Fisheries, after issuing draft criteria for the dispersal of roughly $6.5 million in remaining federal fishery disaster aid, held public hearings this summer soliciting feedback on their proposal. Lawmakers from Cape Cod and the Islands are now urging the administration to reconsider the criteria that they say will exclude over 100 fishing boats that could soon be hit with the added cost of paying for at-sea monitors to police their catches.

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