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Federal Money for Fishermen

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 16:49
The commercial dock at Montauk Harbor
Christine Sampson

President Joe Biden may not be very popular among some Montauk locals, given some of the anti-Biden signage and at-sea activism that has taken place in the hamlet in recent years. That includes a number of commercial fishermen who participated in a colorful “TrumpStock” flotilla in advance of the 2020 election.

Even so, the Biden-led American Rescue Plan Act, passed last March, is going to see funds deployed to Montauk’s commercial fishing fleet, to assist with the onshore storage of their gear.

A resolution shepherded by East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys and passed unanimously last week by the town board will send $70,000 to Montauk for gear storage, drawing from an eventual allocation of $2.34 million directed to East Hampton Town. The money comes from a program called the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which is designed to “provide local governments with resources needed to respond to the pandemic and its lasting effects.”

In voting to send the $70,000 to the commercial fleet, the town board said the outlay was “an appropriate use of the funding and complies with the following use categories: provision of government services.”

The storage site will be located somewhere in the dock area, Mr. Lys said by email this week: “The fisheries gear storage site will be moved ahead on shortly by outside contractors as an additional aspect of the new West Lake comfort station installation.”

Under a separate town board resolution, the weathered old West Lake bathroom will be replaced this year. The site is across the street from one of the hamlet’s major commercial docks, near Gosman’s restaurant and The Dock restaurant. 

Exactly who will be eligible to use the storage site is yet to be determined. The town’s fisheries advisory committee is discussing the “process and policy,” said Councilman Lys, who chairs that committee.

Former First District Congressman Lee Zeldin joined his Republican colleagues in the House in voting unanimously against the American Rescue Plan Act last year.


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