Coastal states receive apportionments of $300 million in funds for fishery businesses

May 18, 2020 – Alexandria, Va. – The U.S. Department of Commerce recently allocated $300 million in funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for fishery participants. These funds, which will be distributed by the coastal states, Tribes and the U.S. territories, are to provide relief to coastal and marine recreational and commercial fishing businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While $300 million can get spread thin pretty quickly when divided among more than 30 states, Tribes and territories, it is important for coastal and marine sportfishing businesses to know that they may be eligible for these funds,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “Given the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, every bit of relief funding can help businesses survive.”

Coastal states, Tribes and territories have each received between $1 million to $50 million to provide relief to fishery participants, which may include direct payments. Each state must develop spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA Fisheries’ guidance. Businesses must show economic revenue losses greater than 35% as compared to the prior five-year average to be eligible for direct payments.

“The sportfishing industry is grateful to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee leaders Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for not only securing these funds, but also for ensuring that sportfishing businesses are eligible under the law,” said Leonard. “As states are developing their spend plans, we urge them to recognize the eligibility of sportfishing businesses such as tackle shops, charter operators and equipment suppliers.”

“ASA is committed to working with each coastal state to help them understand the significant impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the sportfishing industry, and to ensure that these relief funds are put to the best use to help these businesses get back on their feet,” said Leonard.

ASA will distribute details on each state’s spending plan as they become available. In the meantime, interested marine sportfishing businesses should contact their state fish and wildlife agency for more information.