CARES Act Fisheries Assistance

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trawl net hauling

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

Alaska $50,000,000

Washington $50,000,000

Massachusetts $28,004,176

Florida $23,636,600

Maine $20,308,513

California $18,350,586

Oregon $15,982,827

Louisiana $14,785,244

New Jersey $11,337,797

Texas $9,237,949

New York $6,750,276

North Carolina $5,460,385

Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast $5,097,501

Virginia $4,520,475

Hawaii $4,337,445

Maryland $4,125,118

Pennsylvania $3,368,086

Alabama $3,299,821

Rhode Island $3,294,234

New Hampshire $2,732,492

American Samoa $2,553,194

Georgia $1,921,832

Connecticut $1,835,424

Mississippi $1,534,388

South Carolina $1,525,636

Delaware $1,000,000

Puerto Rico $1,000,000

United States Virgin Islands $1,000,000

Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska $1,000,000

Guam $1,000,000

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands $1,000,000

Total $300,000,000

* Final award amounts will be different due to Hollings and other assessments.

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source: NOAA Fisheries