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DEC Announces Marine Fisheries COVID-19 Relief Funding

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the application period to receive funding from the New York Marine Fisheries Relief Program is open beginning today, Dec. 1, until Dec. 31, 2020. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced $6.7 million in federal funding (leaves DEC’s website) is available from the 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.

DEC worked cooperatively with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to develop a spending plan for the funding to provide support for the state’s seafood, commercial fishing, and recreational for-hire fishing industries.

Funding is available to eligible New York State residents who hold a valid marine permit or license issued by DEC for 2020 and the previous five years, with some exceptions considered as outlined in the spend plan. Eligible fishery sectors include commercial harvesters, for-hire fishing operations, marine aquaculture, and seafood distribution (dealers/processors/wholesalers). Applicants must demonstrate a greater than 35 percent revenue loss from fishery-related revenue caused by COVID-19 during the period Feb. 1 to July 31, 2020, over a minimum of 60 consecutive days, relative to the previous five years (2015-2019) for the same period. Applicants must demonstrate active participation in one or more of the fishery-related sectors in 2020 and previous years with documented fishing history.

Applicants are encouraged to review all criteria in the final fishery relief spend plan (PDF). Applications are available on DEC’s website and will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2020. DEC will consider appeals from applicants deemed ineligible as part of a thorough and inclusive appeals process, while maintaining compliance with the federal program.

DEC is working cooperatively with ASMFC to distribute funding to approved applicants. Aid will be released and available to participants following 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.

For more information, email fisherydisaster@dec.ny.gov, call (631) 444-0473, or visit DEC’s website.