AUGUSTA — Maine’s seafood industry could get a $20 million boost this fall through funds made available under the federal CARES Act.
Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said state and federal officials are nearing final agreement on exactly how to allocate the funds.
Maine Public reports that individual fishing license holders and shellfish growers who qualify will get the same lump-sum payment, no matter how large or small the operation.
The funds will go to seafood-sector businesses that lost at least 35 percent of their revenues compared with the same period in previous years.
A document DMR produced for the federal government shows that commercial fishing license holders, boat-for-hire operations and aquaculture farms that qualify could get more than $2,100 each, while seafood dealers and processors are projected to receive just over $6,000 each.
Keliher emphasized that the exact value of the lump-sum benefits will depend on exactly how many businesses qualify for the funds.
“The need is likely there for even more relief in the long run,” Keliher said. The state could go back to Congress to seek more aid, he said.
For now the goal is to get the checks struck by the end of October.
“But we need to get this out on the ground and then figure out what the picture is like as we approach the end of the year and then see if we need to go back to congress and ask for more.”