October 7, 1999 -- Summary of the Groundfish Disaster Relief Plan


Disaster Relief


Teri Frady
PH: (508) 495-2239
George Liles
PH: (508) 495-2378


NMFS Northeast Region

N         E         W         S


April 11, 2000 -- NMFS today released the names of people who participated in the disaster relief program described below (disaster relief participants). A second round of the disaster relief program was announced March 10, 2000.

Disaster Relief Summary
Round I

October 7, 1999 -- The qualifying criteria were developed with the advice of the industry and Congressional staffs. The criteria were proposed, subject to public review, and finalized by NOAA Fisheries between June and September 1999. The disaster relief plan was published in the Federal Register September 7, 1999.

Qualification was determined by a review of required reports of landings and vessel activity. Vessels that:

have a valid permit;

had 10,000 pounds groundfish landings between May 1, 1997 and April 30, 1998;

had a record of groundfishing in 1998 (and in some cases, 1997) during the months (February to June) and areas of the 1999 inshore closures;

and did not groundfish elsewhere during the 1999 inshore closures this year;

are eligible for either $900 or $1500 per day not fished during the 1999 closures. Amount depends on whether the permit holder shares the payment with crew members.

Total qualified vessels -- 185.0

Total compensable days -- 2,003.0

Most days for one vessel --46.5

Fewest days for one vessel -- 0.5

Average days compensable -- 11.0

Most crew members -- 6.0

Fewest crew members -- 1.0

Average crew -- 2.6

By State (by home port)

Maine -- 50.0

New Hampshire -- 25.0

Massachusetts -- 108.0

Rhode Island -- 1.0

New Jersey -- 1.0

What Next

Vessels that qualify will receive a certified mailing this week (October 4-8) that includes all the documents they need in order to apply for compensation. Application deadline is Nov. 8, 1999. For help in completing applications, call NOAA Fisheries at (978)281-9278. That's the general help line. A team has been assembled to field inquiries. All calls will be returned.

Those who do not qualify will also be notified by regular mail. There is no formal appeal process, however, persons who have evidence of an error can contact us through the help line.

NOAA Fisheries will begin processing applications as soon as they arrive. Processing includes review and verification of information provided by applicants that may further reduce the pool. For example, to remain eligible, an applicant's income from commercial fishing may not exceed $75,000 annually or $150,000 if filing jointly.

Funds will be transferred electronically, beginning in late November, depending on volume of responses, timeliness, completeness of applications, and required review time.

How Vessels Were Qualified

First, the number of eligible permits was determined:

Vessel must have at least 10,000 lb of groundfish landings/sales over the period May 1, 1997 to April 30, 1998 (the 1997-98 groundfishing year). Source of data: required reporting by groundfish dealers.


Total number of groundfish permits -- 3,146

Number of those permits that landed no groundfish -- 1624

Number of those permits showing less than 10,000 lb groundfish landed/sold -- 755

Number eliminated because permit not identifiable (Such as small state permitted vessels) -- 3

Number of vessels that submitted no trip reports or negative reports (no landings) -- 24

Number of vessels deactivated through the buyout program, sold outright (on or after 2/1/99), in the permit retention program, transferred, or without a valid permit -- 40

Still qualified: 700

Next, the number of eligible days for which these vessels could be compensated was calculated:

Vessel trip logbooks and days-at-sea called in were reviewed to find vessels reporting fishing trips in the inshore closure areas between February and June of 1998 (or, in some cases, 1997).

Vessels with this confirmed historical activity in the closed areas, that showed no, or reduced, groundfishing days for the February-June 1999 period, are eligible for compensation.


Number of vessels eliminated because lost fishing days in the closed areas can not be confirmed using the required reports -- 225

Of these 225:

136 had some trips in western Gulf of Maine, some trips outside the closure areas and some with no valid location information, and none reported in the closed areas.

15 vessels had some trips in the western Gulf of Maine, but with exempted gear (in other words, not groundfish trips).

74 vessels had all trips reported without valid location information.

Vessels with reported trips, but not in the closure areas and/or months -- 208

Vessels qualified through permit transfers -- 3

Still qualified -- 270

Finally: The number of days lost in the present fishing year was calculated, based on vessel trip reports.

Vessels eliminated because they used their days at sea elsewhere during the 1999 inshore closures -- 85

Presently qualified -- 185

Groundfish (also called "multispecies")

The 13 species regulated under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan: cod, haddock, pollock, redfish, winter flounder, witch flounder, windowpane flounders, summer flounder, American plaice, white hake, silver hake, red hake, ocean pout.

Closure Areas

Fishing activity compensation is based on comparing the number of days fished in 1998 (or in some cases in1997) in the following months and areas (see map), with fishing in the same periods and areas in 1999:

February: blocks 124-125

March: blocks 124-125

April: blocks 123-125, 130-133

May: blocks 129-133, 136-140

June: blocks 139-147, 152

A guide to the relief plan can be found online at the NMFS/NER press site.

NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service * One Blackburn Drive * Gloucester, MA * 01930
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