COVID-19 has made all our lives more difficult, but for Maine’s more than 5,000 community fishermen and seafood businesses, this is a crisis far beyond being trapped at home. Seafood sales, and the entire seafood marketplace, have been upended, undermining businesses and creating uncertainty and fear for the future of Maine’s fishermen. In response, today, MCFA launched a Covid-19 fishermen resource guide which is a clearinghouse of information for issues related to COVID-19.
Located on the organization’s web page – www.mainecoastfishermen.org – the site assists fishermen in understanding the health impacts of Covid-19, details how to stay safe, get access to health insurance, locate mental health support, find auto and business loans, understand the new unemployment laws, and access funds made available through the CARES Act.
“Maine fishermen are on the front line of our food system and are being directly impacted by this pandemic. In this quickly evolving crisis, we felt that a simple one-stop-shop of resources would be the quickest way to keep our communities healthy and get fishermen access to important economic relief,” said Ben Martens, MCFA’s executive director. “We still have a long way to go but working together we will get through these uncertain and scary times.”
Throughout the state’s history, Maine fishermen have been known for their storied resilience. The situation presented by the Covid-19 virus is challenging the industry to adapt in exceptional ways. MCFA has helped fishermen connect directly with consumers to sell local seafood. Resources outlining the dos and don’ts of that process have also been added to the website along with a list of places for consumers to safely buy Maine seafood.
“We’re accustomed to weathering tough times, and we will get through this one, too. Having these resources in one place is a huge help for all of us who are juggling how to stay safe, pay bills, and keep catching and selling seafood,” said Alex Todd, MCFA’s interim board chairman. “We’re able to stay focused on keeping ourselves, our families and our communities healthy, with support from programs like those featured on this resource page.”