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Groundfish Revolving Loan Fund


The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and The Washington Trust Company are pleased to announce the availability of loans for use by eligible commercial fishermen from Rhode Island for leasing groundfish quota (in the form of annual catch entitlements, or ACE).

The RI Commercial Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund Program (RLF Program) has been established to serve the interest of the RI fishing industry by providing local fishermen with access to short-term, low-interest loans for the sole purpose of leasing groundfish quota shares.


Loans are available to those who meet the following eligibility standards. Applicants must:

  1. Hold a current and valid federal groundfish permit
  2. Be enrolled in a groundfish sector
  3. Own, or have majority interest in at least one active vessel permitted to fish in the federal groundfish fishery
  4. Be a Rhode Island resident and/or the owner of an eligible commercial vessel that is home-ported in Rhode Island
  5. Have no record of substantial federal or state permit sanctions or major violations of any federal or state fishing regulations, for the current year and the preceding three years.

Applicants who meet the above-noted eligibility may apply for loans at The Washington Trust Company through Christopher M. Grasso, Business Banking Officer, phone (401) 348-1250, or e-mail

The bank will review the creditworthiness of each applicant, with confidentiality maintained by the bank relative to personal and corporate financial information. This sensitive financial information will not be shared with the DEM or any other outside party. The bank will underwrite the applications and seek approval and, if approved issue loans to qualified applicants.


The loans will be for the express and sole purpose of financing the leasing of shares of groundfish quota. The loans will be subject to a low interest rate – prime, plus 2.5% (adjusted monthly) – and be subject to full repayment within one year of issuance, with partial payments due monthly during the term of the loan. The limit on each loan is $50,000.

Loans will be collateralized with a pledge and hold on grant funds for each loan granted. On a case-by-case basis, The Washington Trust Company (WTC) may require additional collateral from a borrower, based on the borrower's risk profile. All corporate borrowers will be required to have its owners sign a full unlimited personal guarantee for the obligation.

ACE that is transferred to a sector via a loan from the program must be used solely by the sector member who qualified to receive the loan for the leasing and use of that ACE. ACE leased via a loan from the program may not be transferred or sub-leased to any other fishermen, whether enrolled in the same or another sector.

*Personal and corporate financial information collected in the application process by WTC will not be shared with the DEM or any other outside party.



Please direct questions regarding this program to:

Robert Ballou
Assistant to the Director
(401) 222-4700 ext. 4420

Rev. 6/3/16