Maine’s plan to distribute the $20 million in COVID-19 relief earmarked for the state’s seafood industry is facing unexpected opposition from federal regulators who say individual recipients, not the fishery as a whole, must demonstrate a 35 percent revenue loss this spring before they can qualify for pandemic assistance.
All of the active licensed fishermen, aquaculturists and dealers in almost all of Maine’s commercial fisheries would have been eligible to receive a share of the state bailout fund under the fishery-by-fishery certification strategy proposed by the Maine Department of Marine Resources in July, Commissioner Pat Keliher said.
“However, later in our conversations, we were told that the 35 percent impact must be demonstrated at the level of the individual license holder,” Keliher said in an email to commercial fishermen on Thursday. “For some of you, that might be easy. Others may find it harder.”
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