Help is on the way for the commercial fishing industry, as the Secretary of Commerce has allocated $300 million in CARES Act funding assistance for fisheries.

Funding Eligibility

This funding is being provided directly to coastal states, tribes, and territories, and NOAA Fisheries will grant awards for spending plans submitted by interstate marine fisheries commissions and states. These spending plans must address direct or indirect fishery-related losses, subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. The spending plans can include direct payments, infrastructure, and education. In line with Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act, this funding is designed for companies that have economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent, as compared to the prior five-year average. Eligible participants for these spending plans can include fishing businesses (i.e commercial, charter, for-hire), qualified aquaculture operations, processors, dealers and certain other fishery-related business. Certain businesses in the supply chain (i.e. vessel repair, restaurant, retailers) are not considered fishery-related business for purposes of this assistance. Over $28 million of this assistance is expected to be made available to Massachusetts, over $3.2 million to Rhode Island, and over $1.8 million to Connecticut. These amounts were determined proportionately based on readily available total revenue.

Securing Funding

Fishing industry companies should contact their state marine fisheries management agencies to understand their eligibility and procedures for applying for these funds. The states have been given some discretion in determining eligible companies, so contacting the specific management agency is important. Direct payments to companies are available if they meet the requirements of the CARES Act and are a part of an approved spending plan. There are expected to be less barriers to disbursement from this assistance, as the Secretary of Commerce does not have to declare a fishery disaster, and the awards can be made on a rolling basis. 

For More Information

DiSanto, Priest & Co. is prepared to assist with any questions or concerns regarding this funding; please reach out via email, give us a call at (401) 921-2000, or fill out our online contact us form. For additional information, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.