U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden announced May 7 that Maine lobstermen, fishermen and other Mainers working in the seafood supply chain will receive a total of $20,166,476 in pandemic relief support. The funding represents the fifth-highest amount being awarded among 31 recipient states.

Collins and Pingree worked with bipartisan groups of their colleagues from coastal states to secure $300 million in the CARES Act specifically to assist fishermen and fishery-related businesses such as dealers, processors and aquaculture operations affected by COVID-19. Collins, King, Pingree and Golden have all written the administration to call on them to quickly release this financial assistance.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allocating funds proportionately based on a multi-year average of the total annual revenue of each region’s commercial fishing, charter fishing, processor and aquaculture sectors.

Funds may be awarded on a rolling basis, and within a fishing season, to ensure rapid delivery during the pandemic. NOAA will be releasing guidance on its rollout plan, including more information on eligibility and how funding will be distributed. The Maine Department of Marine Resources will be leading the allotment effort in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.