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Distribution of Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Disaster Monies to States for First-Third of Consensus Plan

Photo credit: NOAA

NOAA has awarded the first set of grants to five states (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut), totaling approximately $10.6 million to provide direct financial assistance to fishermen affected by the groundfish fisheries resource disaster. We are working with the state of New York to finalize their grant application and hope to distribute that award shortly. 

We know that fishermen have been anxious to receive these funds. However, we felt that it was extremely important to take the necessary time to ensure that funds were distributed wisely. Building consensus among the states and providing time for state directors to get input from their respective fishing industries was a big part of this effort. It also was crucial to ensure that the money was distributed in the best way possible.

We believe that the consensus plan developed by the states, in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries, takes into account the diverse needs of the various fishing communities and identifies common ground for moving forward to ensure the long-term survival of both the fishery and the resource.  

This consensus plan divides the available $32.8 million allocated by Congress in 2014 to support those affected by the groundfish disaster into thirds (roughly $11 million for each third):

 Eligibility Criteria for First-Third of Federal Funding

State directors, working in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries, developed the preliminary eligibility requirements for distributing the funds to help affected fishermen and their families. Preliminary direct assistance eligibility criteria include being a: Northeast multispecies limited access permit holder from one of the six states who  landed at least 5,000 pounds of regulated Northeast groundfish  in any of the past four fishing years, beginning with fishing year 2010 (May 1, 2010–April 30, 2011) through fishing year 2013 (May 1, 2013-April 30, 2014).

The states may impose other qualifying or eligibility standards before distributing the money. The states will use the money allocated to them to directly pay qualifying permit holders that are homeported in their state.

We realize that many others beyond these qualifying fishermen were affected by the groundfish disaster. The states are also preparing separate spend plans/grant applications to disperse another pool of funds -- roughly $11 million in disaster funds for state-specific grants -- to address various needs of their respective fishing communities.  

Next Steps for Distributing Checks to Fishermen

Individual states have submitted a spend plan for this first third of funds as part of their grant application. For details about how each state plans to distribute this portion of the funds, please contact the states directly (contact information below).

Breakdown of First Third of Funds for Direct Assistance


 Federal Funding

  Point of Contact

Maine Department of Marine Resources



 Meredith Mendelson

(207) 624-6553

New Hampshire Fish and Game


 Cheri Patterson

(603) 868-1095

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries


 Melanie Griffin

(617) 626-1528

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management


 Robert Ballou  

(401) 222-4700, ext. 4420

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection



 Mark Alexander 

(860) 434-6043

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Bureau of Marine Resources

Still being finalized

Steve Heins  at (631) 444-0436