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Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandes presented $500,000 in funding to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance (CCCFA) at the Chatham Fish Pier yesterday. 

The funding was earmarked for the Alliance in the state’s 2024 budget for their efforts in modernizing and maintaining sustainable fishing and was part of $1.2 million in funding Fernandes secured for the Cape and Islands during the FY2024 budget process. Of that, $940,000 in funding was devoted to protecting oceans and combating climate change.

“Fishing is not just an industry on the Cape and Islands; it’s woven into the very culture and fabric of our communities,” said Fernandes. “These funds are a pathway toward adaptive fishing practices, healthier oceans, and a sustainable industry that can be passed down to future generations of fishing families.”

CCCFA was formed by a group of fishermen in 1991 and has worked with fishermen for more than 30 years to create further solutions for a balanced ecosystem and profitable fishing communities. They are a leading voice for commercial fishermen in Cape Cod and cover many fisheries. According to the Alliance, their staff have continuously held a seat on the New England Fishery Management Council for 19 years, 21 years on the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, and 8 years on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

“We want to thank Rep. Fernandes for securing this pivotal funding to help us continue fighting for fish and fishermen across the peninsula. He understands how important the commercial fishing industry is to the economic and environmental health of our coastal communities – and how small-boat fishermen face many challenges. His support will help us meet those challenges as we magnify the voices of local fishermen in federal, state, and local fisheries policy decisions and harness their experience on the ocean to power scientific research,” Fishermen’s Alliance CEO John Pappalardo said.

CCCFA fisheries policy director Aubrey Ellertson Church told National Fisherman, “we greatly appreciate this funding. It will allow us to continue to provide fishermen training, help provide delicious local seafood to those insecure communities on the Cape, and continue to advocate at the local, state, and federal levels on fisheries policy issues and management decisions supporting the local fishing community.”

Nearly 2000 fishermen live and work on Cape Cod and land over $73.8 million worth of seafood each year. The fishing industry supports thousands of jobs on the Cape. From the fishermen to restaurants, wholesalers, and tourism. 

In addition to the support this funding will provide to Cape fishermen, it will be used to modernize fishery resource surveys, expand data collection on fishing vessels, organize educational opportunities, and advance policies and practices to maintain the Massachusetts fishing fleet. 

Pappalardo notes, “Supporting the original Blue Economy will also pay dividends as the Fishermen’s Alliance continues to defray the high cost of fishing permits, strengthens working waterfronts, provides fishermen training, and works to bring more local seafood into immigrant and food insecure communities on Cape Cod. This funding truly is a tide that lifts all boats, and we are so very grateful.” 

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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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