For Immediate Release - December 02, 2013

Patrick Administration Announces Expanded Revolving Loan Fund Opportunities for Massachusetts Fishermen

BOSTON – December 2, 2013 - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced expanded loan opportunities for commercial fishermen from the Commonwealth’s Commercial Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). The RLF was expanded after months of collaboration and conversation with project partners and local fishermen.

“The changes to the revolving loan fund program will allow commercial fishermen in the groundfish industry to access capital needed to repair vessels, purchase new gear and refinance fisheries-related debt,” Secretary Sullivan said. “This is another example of Governor Patrick’s strong commitment to commercial fishermen, their families and Massachusetts’ coastal communities.”

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce declared a disaster in the Northeast Groundfish Fishery in September 2012. The Patrick Administration continues to work with Massachusetts’ congressional delegation to get much needed financial assistance to the Commonwealth’s fishermen and their families.

Just last month, the Administration’s application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration was approved, making Massachusetts fishermen eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).  EIDLs are working capital loans that help small businesses meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of a disaster. Governor Patrick brought representatives from across the administration together to compile resources for fishermen and their families.

The Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and its Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), working with their federal partner National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, have expanded eligibility for use of the Commonwealth’s Commercial Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund by groundfishermen to include vessel repairs, gear upgrades, monitoring costs and refinancing of existing fisheries-related debt. Qualified groundfishermen are able to add these financing opportunities to the existing ability to lease groundfish quota through the RLF.

“The stability of the Massachusetts fishing industry is critical to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth’s coastal communities and important to all of Massachusetts,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. “The enhanced revolving loan fund will help fishermen meet basic needs to weather the current crisis in the groundfish industry and continue in the important business of supplying nutritious, local seafood.”

“These loan funds will help groundfishermen bridge the expanse they face as we work together to rebuild our shared groundfish resources,” noted DMF Director Paul Diodati. “At the same time, the Division continues to lead long-term policy and science initiatives to help ensure the fishery, fishermen, fishing families and communities regain much-needed stability.”

While the Community Development Partnership continues to administer the regional RLF on the Cape and Islands, DMF is working with partners on the North Shore to implement a second regional loan fund for non-Cape and Islands groundfishermen.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

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