By John Ewald for The Island Eye News
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced the allocation of $300 million in economic relief to U.S. fishermen and seafood industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were allocated as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27 by President Donald Trump.
Commercial fishermen, charter businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors and parts of the seafood sector in coastal states and territories are among those eligible to apply for funds. The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will work with the three Interstate Marine Fishery Commissions, organizations with a demonstrated track record of success in disbursing funds, to quickly deliver financial assistance into the hands of those who need it.
“This relief package will support America’s fishermen and our seafood sector’s recovery,” said Ross. “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.”
Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., lauded today’s announcement.
“For generations, our coastal communities have taken great pride in delivering protein-rich seafood to dinner tables across the country and enabling access to our world-class recreational fisheries,” said Jacobs.
“NOAA thanks our partners in the interstate marine fisheries commissions, states, territories and tribes for their assistance. Together, we will work to distribute these funds as quickly as possible.”
In addition to these funds, the president recently signed into law other federal financial assistance programs, including several programs at the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture that can provide help to fishermen and related businesses.
To learn more about financial assistance for those in the seafood industry, visit noaa.gov.