Skip to Content
The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 35JJJ: Fishing Innovation Fund

Section 35JJJ. (a) There shall be a Fishing Innovation Fund. The fund shall finance grants for: (i) permit banks; (ii) the design, construction and modification of commercial fishing vessels including, but not limited to, research, development and construction of innovative fishing vessels with attributes including, but not limited to, increased fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved stability and the capability of supporting sustainable fishing practices through harvesting and on-board storage and processing methods; (iii) research, development, acquisition and deployment of advanced or innovative technologies including, but not limited to, sonar, radar, radio communications, satellite and global position and other locating and tracking devices; and (iv) the research and development, acquisition and deployment of safety equipment and technologies; provided, however, that any grants may be conditioned on a vessel or guarantor or other reasonable condition remaining active in commercial fishing in the commonwealth, landing or processing fish in the commonwealth or maintaining permits or licenses to do so without regard or preference to any particular geographic location or region of the commonwealth; and provided, further that grants shall be distributed in a manner developed by the advisory committee established pursuant to subsection (c).

(b) The fund shall consist of: (i) any revenues or other financing sources directed to the fund by appropriation; (ii) bond revenues or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund; (iii) any income derived from the investment of amounts credited to the fund or repayment of loans from the fund; (iv) funds from public or private sources including, but not limited to, gifts, federal or private grants, donations, rebates and settlements received by the commonwealth that are specifically designated to be credited to the fund; and (v) all other amounts credited or transferred into the fund from any other source. The department of fish and game shall seek to maximize fund revenues through federal monies, matching funds and grants. The fund shall be administered by the commissioner of fish and game, in consultation with the advisory committee established pursuant to subsection (c), subject to approval by the secretary of administration and finance. Any unexpended balances in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditures in the subsequent fiscal year.

(c) There shall be an advisory committee that shall consist of: the director of marine fisheries, who shall serve as chair; and 12 members to be appointed by the governor: 2 of whom shall have academic or research experience in fishing and the marine economy and 10 of whom shall be from geographically diverse regions of the commonwealth. There shall be at least 1 representative for each of the following gear types: (i) mobile gear, such as trawls; (ii) hooks; (iii) gillnets; and (iv) traps.

The advisory committee shall file an annual report detailing the amount, types and nature of grants made and the impacts of the grants with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate not later than September 30.

The advisory committee shall annually hold at least 1 public hearing to receive public testimony to inform its efforts in developing and deploying grant programs.

(d) Annually, not later than December 1, the commissioner of fish and game shall report on the activities of the fund to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate and to the house and senate committees on ways and means. The report shall include an accounting of expenditures made from the fund with a description of the authorized purpose of each expenditure, an accounting of amounts credited to the fund and any unexpended balance remaining in the fund.