Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and the Maryland Congressional Delegation today announced $4,125,118 for Maryland’s fishing industry through the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Last month, the delegation urged Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and NOAA Administrator Chris Oliver to swiftly allocate this funding, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provided $300 million nationally for businesses in the fishing industry who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 nationwide.
“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 see this funding awarded as quickly as possible for the good of Marylanders and our local and state economies.”
Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors and other fishery-related businesses are eligible for this relief. The State of Maryland will determine how to verify which fishery participants meet the threshold of economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural or ceremonial fisheries. Recipients may use the funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses and subsistence, cultural or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. Funding allocations among states, tribes and territories are based on total annual revenue information from the commercial fishing, charter fishing, aquaculture and processor/seafood sectors.