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Information for MD’s fishing and seafood industries that have been impacted financially by COVID

On May 7, 2020, 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.


“Maryland’s U.S. Congressional delegation has announced $4.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding is available to all sectors of the state’s fishing and seafood industry impacted financially by the ongoing pandemic.


The state’s delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen along with Congressman Andy Harris and all of the state’s representatives in Congress this week announced all sectors in Maryland’s fishing and seafood industries are eligible for the state’s $4.1 million in relief funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provided $300 million nationally for businesses in the fishing industry that have been negatively affected by the pandemic.


Commercial fishing businesses, charters and for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors and other fishery-related businesses are eligible for the relief. Maryland will work with the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission to determine how to verify which fishery participants meet the threshold of economic losses to be eligible for the relief funding.


The working threshold for eligibility is revenue losses greater than 35% as compared to the prior five-year average, or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural or ceremonial fisheries. Eligible recipients will be able to use the funds to address direct or indirect losses related to COVID-19. The state’s delegation requested the funding in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Secretary Chris Oliver, urging the swift allocation of the funds to the fishing industry in need.


“Maryland’s seafood industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the delegation said. “These predominantly small and family-owned businesses urgently need our help as the livelihoods of thousands of Maryland families depend on their ability to weather this storm. We need to seek this funding awarded as quickly as possible for the good of Marylanders and our local and state economies.”


The state delegation’s letter added, “Stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, closures of non-essential business and other measures that are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 during this public health emergency have reduced patronage at restaurants. The global shipping system has also slowed considerably. These market factors have resulted in drastic decreases in wholesale prices for seafood.”


The below link is has the point of contact for those in Maryland wishing to apply.


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