Opinion: Help fishermen by funding fuel efficiency

The recent announcement of federal disaster relief funds for Maine’s struggling groundfish fleet has generated a lot of talk about options and how best to provide maximum relief for our fishermen.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has been holding public meetings this summer to hear ideas from fishermen and others about how best to spend about $636,000 in relief funding. Suggestions for these funds include a variety of rebates or subsidies, the leasing of additional fish quota and the pursuit of seafood certification programs.

While not discounting the need for or importance of these options, one of the more promising long-term solutions has so far managed to stay off the radar – funding for gear and equipment that reduces fuel expenses.

For Maine fishermen, the cost of fuel can be their second largest operating expense after crew salaries and can amount to more than $30,000 a year. Unlike some of the other relief options being discussed, saving fuel provides both instantaneous and ongoing financial relief. It also not only benefits boat owners and captains, but the crew of the vessels as well.

Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

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