On May 7th, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also called the CARES Act, to states, Tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19.
NOAA Fisheries will use allocations to make awards to its partners; the interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to disburse funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.
The commissions then will work with each state, Tribe, and territory to develop spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will submit award applications and spend plans to the agency directly.
All spend plans must describe the main categories for funding, including direct payments, fishery-related infrastructure, and fishery-related education that address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to commercial fishermen, charter businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, subsistence/cultural/ceremonial users, processors, and other fishery-related businesses.
Once a spend plan has been approved by NOAA, the agency anticipates that the three Commissions will review applications and process payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of the states and territories. The states will have the option to process payments themselves.
Fishery participants eligible for funding include Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. They should work with their state marine fisheries management agencies, territories, or Tribe to understand the process for applying for these funds.
Also of note, for the purposes of Sec. 12005 funding, businesses farther down the supply chain, including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers are not considered “fishery-related businesses.”
Summary of Allocations*
Entity Allocation of Sec. 12005 Funding
New Jersey $11,337,797
New York $6,750,276
North Carolina $5,460,385
Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast $5,097,501
Rhode Island $3,294,234
New Hampshire $2,732,492
American Samoa $2,553,194
South Carolina $1,525,636
Puerto Rico $1,000,000
United States Virgin Islands $1,000,000
Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska $1,000,000
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands $1,000,000
* Final award amounts will be different due to Hollings and other assessments.
For more information, visit: www.fisheries.noaa.gov.
source: NOAA Fisheries