New York Fisheries Relief Program Will Provide Direct Payments to Help Address Pandemic-Related Business Losses 30-Day Application Period Opens Dec. 1
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.7 million in federal funding is available from the Marine Fisheries Relief Program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to assist New York's marine fishing industry following extensive economic losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible seafood, commercial marine fishing, and marine recreational for-hire fishing businesses will be able to apply for the funding beginning Dec. 1, to help provide financial relief for this hard-hit and crucially important industry.
"As the economic pain of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact industries across the globe, New York's marine fishing industry is no exception," Governor Cuomo said. "Whether it's recreational or commercial fishing, the business which comprise this industry have been vital to New York's economic success and cultural heritage since our state's inception and its critical we ensure they have the resources and support they need to keep operating during these difficult times."
New York's marine resources are critical to the State's economy, supporting nearly 350,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars through tourism, fishing, and other industries. The State's $6.7 million from the Marine Fisheries Relief Program allocation was determined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries based on the total average annual revenues from New York's fishery-related businesses, but does not reflect the industry's total economic losses due to COVID-19. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) worked cooperatively with NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to receive approval for a New York Fisheries Relief Program Spend Plan that establishes the framework for distributing this funding.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's seafood and fishing industries are facing significant negative impacts since the initial response to COVID-19, and continue to face new challenges as our state and nation combat the spread. DEC remains committed to supporting New York's marine fishing industries and will work collaboratively with our partners to expedite the distribution of this relief to all eligible applicants."
DEC will release New York Fisheries Relief Program applications and additional eligibility information on Dec. 1, 2020. Once available, applications will be posted on DEC's website and notices will be sent to marine permit holders, stakeholder advisory groups, and other potentially eligible parties. Potential participants are encouraged to review all criteria in the final fishery relief spend plan on DEC's CARES Act website. For more information, email [email protected], or call (631) 444-0473.
DEC will accept applications for 30 days, through Dec. 31, 2020. After the application period ends, DEC will entertain initially denied applications as part of a thorough and inclusive appeals process, while maintaining compliance with the federal program. DEC will work cooperatively with ASMFC to distribute funding to approved applicants. Aid will be released and available to participants following the approval of their application. As required by NOAA Fisheries, all funds allocated to New York State must be released to participants by September 2021. Some award recipients may be the subject of a federal audit.
New York's efforts to help secure this funding for the fishing industry is just one of several steps taken by Governor Cuomo to help the industry and the environment it depends on thrive. New York has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Commerce Department challenging the unlawful and unfair quotas allocated to the State in the commercial fluke (summer flounder) fishery.
The State is also in its third year of the historic expansion of artificial reefs off the shores of Long Island to boost New York's recreational and sport fishing and diving industries. Coupled with the nation's largest offshore wind agreement, record investments in the Environmental Protection Fund and Clean Water Infrastructure Act, ban on offshore drilling, passage of the 'bunker bill' to prohibit the taking of menhaden with the use of purse seines to protect this keystone species, continued progress on the Long Island Shellfish Restoration initiative, and other programs to protect and improve water quality, the Governor's efforts are realizing a cleaner and healthier marine environment for all New Yorkers.