May 7, 2020 — The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:
Today, the 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.
“This relief package will support America’s fishermen and our seafood sector’s recovery,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Thank you President Trump, Secretary Mnuchin, and our Congressional leaders of both parties for your work to pass the historic legislation that is bringing much needed relief to America’s fishermen. This Administration stands with the men and women working to provide healthy and safe seafood during this uniquely challenging time, while our U.S. fisheries work to continue to support 1.7 million jobs and to generate $200 billion in annual sales. The nation is grateful to our fishermen for their commitment.”
As a next step, NOAA Fisheries will use these allocations (see below) to make awards to our 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.
“We are going to rely primarily on our partners at the interstate marine fishery commissions during the award process because they have a demonstrated track record of disbursing funds provided to them quickly and effectively,” said Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.
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/
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*
Allocation of Sec. 12005 Funding
|Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast||$5,097,501|
|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