Affected fishermen can apply for funding: workshop Friday

The Department of Land and Natural Resources through its new Fisheries Disaster Relief Program, will be conducting a workshop Friday on Kaua‘i as part of a new program offering economic assistance to fishermen and fishing communities affected by federal closures or federally-imposed fishing restrictions.  

“In Hawai‘i, fisheries that have been affected include Hawai‘i-based pelagic fisheries, bottomfish fisheries, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands lobster fisheries, and precious coral fisheries managed by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council,” said Peter Young, DLNR chairperson, in a press release.

“Congress approved the Hawai‘i Fisheries Disaster Appropriation that provided a $5-million funding grant to the State of Hawai‘i.  We want to work with fishers that may have been impacted by the federal regulations,” Young said in the release.

From the $5 million grant DLNR received from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a sum of $1.6 million was set aside for direct assistance. DLNR is now inviting individuals or organizations in Hawaii to submit project proposal applications for federal FDRP funding.

Examples of projects eligible for direct assistance funding would primarily entail gear or vessel modification to comply with federal regulations/restrictions or gear/vessel enhancement to target alternate fisheries or locations.  The funds cannot be utilized to buy back permits or equipment nor can they reimburse fisher folk for lost revenue.  

Individual projects may be eligible for up to approximately $20,000.  Larger scale projects that will benefit a broader sector of federally impacted fisheries will also be considered for funding up to approximately $100,000.  Projects should target a goal for completion of one year from time of funding.

The FDRP provides two options to commercial fishermen who are no longer able to continue in their primary fishery due to federal actions. One option would provide economic assistance to fishers to modify their fishing gear or vessels to comply with federal regulations and restrictions, or to enhance fishing gear or vessels to enter alternate fisheries or locations.  

The second option would involve affected fishers in a variety of cooperative research and development projects with the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.

Another major objective of the FDRP is to improve the productivity and management of fisheries affected by changes in federal fisheries management regulations, through involvement of affected fishers in cooperative research and development projects.

DLNR has contracted with the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawai‘i to administer this part of the Fisheries Disaster Relief Program. Some $3 million in Fisheries Grant Program funds were provided for in this program.  

The workshop Friday in Lihu‘e will explain the program, answer questions, and assist interested applicants in completing their application.

The workshop will be at the Kauai Humane Society, 3-825 Kaumuali‘i Highway, Lihu‘e, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 17.

Application forms can be downloaded from the DLNR Web site at: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/ or obtained in hard copy form or on CD discs from the FDRP Office by calling (808) 832-5017.

Please submit proposals to the FDRP Coordinator at 1039 Sand Island Parkway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819; or via email:  earl.miyamoto@verizon.net or via fax:  (808) 832-5018.

Any individual or organization in Hawai‘i who wants to apply for FDRP funds must submit a project proposal application to the FDRP Coordinator. The application must be postmarked or received by March 31, 2006. Applications may also be submitted via e-mail.  

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