Mass. to receive $14.5m for groundfish disaster funding

Massachusetts will receive more than $14.5 million in federal disaster funds to address the dramatic downturn in the Northeastís groundfish industry, Governor Deval Patrick's office announced Wednesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration allocated the money after a federal disaster declaration for the regionís groundfishermen. The state will receive the funds as part of $75 million allocated by Congress to help with six declared fishery disasters across the country.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island will divide the allocation roughly equally into three categories: direct assistance, individual state-determined uses, and a federally funded buyout or industry-funded buyback.

"As a delegation, we fought hard for relief for fishermen throughout the Commonwealth," said US Representative William Keating. "I am still reviewing NOAA's recently announced distribution of those funds, but I believe they need to go directly into the pockets of the men and women who work on our boats and bore the brunt of the disaster."

A division of the Department of Fish and Game hopes to begin disbursing funds in the early fall, after the state receives the money from NOAA.

(This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe)