May 8, 2020

Commerce Secretary Announces Allocation of $300 Million in CARES Act Funding

May 7, 2020 — The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:

Today, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also called the CARES Act, to states, Tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19.

“This relief package will support America’s fishermen and our seafood sector’s recovery,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Thank you President Trump, Secretary Mnuchin, and our Congressional leaders of both parties for your work to pass the historic legislation that is bringing much needed relief to America’s fishermen. This Administration stands with the men and women working to provide healthy and safe seafood during this uniquely challenging time, while 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.”

As a next step, NOAA Fisheries will use these allocations (see below) to make awards to our partners—the interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—to disburse funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.

“We are going to rely primarily on our partners at the interstate marine fishery commissions during the award process because they have a demonstrated track record of disbursing funds provided to them quickly and effectively,” said Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

The commissions then will work with each state, Tribe, and territory to develop spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will submit award applications and spend plans to the agency directly. All spend plans must describe the main categories for funding, including direct payments, fishery-related infrastructure, and fishery-related education that address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to commercial fishermen, charter businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, subsistence/cultural/ceremonial users, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. Once a spend plan has been approved by NOAA, the agency anticipates that the three Commissions will review applications and process payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of the states and territories. The states will have the option to process payments themselves.

Fishery participants eligible for funding include Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. They should work with their state marine fisheries management agencies, territories, or Tribe to understand the process for applying for these funds.

Also of note, for the purposes of Sec. 12005 funding, businesses farther down the supply chain—including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers—are not considered “fishery-related businesses.”

Summary of Allocations*


Allocation of Sec. 12005 Funding

Alaska $50,000,000
Washington $50,000,000
Massachusetts $28,004,176
Florida $23,636,600
Maine $20,308,513
California $18,350,586
Oregon $15,982,827
Louisiana $14,785,244
New Jersey $11,337,797
Texas $9,237,949
New York $6,750,276
North Carolina $5,460,385
Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast $5,097,501
Virginia $4,520,475
Hawaii $4,337,445
Maryland $4,125,118
Pennsylvania $3,368,086
Alabama $3,299,821
Rhode Island $3,294,234
New Hampshire $2,732,492
American Samoa $2,553,194
Georgia $1,921,832
Connecticut $1,835,424
Mississippi $1,534,388
South Carolina $1,525,636
Delaware $1,000,000
Puerto Rico $1,000,000
United States Virgin Islands $1,000,000
Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska $1,000,000
Guam $1,000,000
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands $1,000,000



Final award amounts will be different due to Hollings and other assessments

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