Jim Buxton loads wire traps onto his boat, Nomad, at Merrill’s Wharf in Portland on Saturday as he prepares to set his first traps of the season. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

ME - 1 in 3 Maine Lobstermen Lands Federal Pandemic Loan

Lobstermen got more small Paycheck Protection Program loans than members of any other Maine industry, but the size of the average loan was small.

Maine lobstermen reeled in more small federal emergency loans under the Paycheck Protection Program than members of any other industry in Maine, with about one out of every three commercial lobstermen landing one, but the average loan was barely large enough to cover a month’s worth of bait at the height of the summer fishing season.

About $14.9 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans of less than $150,000 have been handed out to 1,358 Maine lobstermen, according to an analysis of newly released U.S. Small Business Administration data. That puts lobstermen ahead of full-service restaurants, real estate offices, beauty salons and home builders, which rounded out the top five Maine industries receiving small PPP loans.

But the high participation rate didn’t net Maine lobstermen a lot of money, with the average small PPP loan to lobster fishermen working out to be just $10,900 each, data show. By comparison, full-service restaurants got $53,500. Home builders, $30,000. It didn’t get better when the loans got bigger: Only two lobstering companies got large loans of more than $150,000.

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