Additional COVID financial relief available to members of Georgia’s marine fishing-industry
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - Participants in Georgia’s marine commercial and for-hire industry who experienced a greater than 35 percent loss in revenue during 2020 and/or 2021 due to COVID-19 may now apply for federal financial assistance.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March 2020 provided Georgia with nearly $2 million in funds to be distributed to marine fishery participants with economic loss from March through May 2020. The recent Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 has made an additional nearly $3 million in funds available to Georgia commercial fishermen, wholesale dealers, processors of saltwater species, bait shrimp dealers and harvesters, aquaculturists with a Georgia commercial fishing license, and for-hire guides with losses incurred during 2020 and/or 2021.
Eligible applicants must have experienced a revenue loss of more than 35 percent compared to the same period for the five years between 2015 and 2019.
The DNR says it is directly contacting known potential applicants, as well as sending press releases and social media posts to reach potential applicants who did not receive an application packet. The application can also be downloaded here. Applications must be postmarked by November 6, 2021.
To be eligible, DNR says applicants must:
- Be a Georgia resident or corporation based in Georgia; and
- Licensure during applicable year(s) in which losses occurred:
- Commercial fishing or seafood dealer - Applicants must have one of the following GADNR licenses: commercial fishing, commercial vessel, or seafood dealer.
- For-hire - Applicants must possess a GADNR saltwater guide license.
- Wholesale dealers/processors - Applicants must possess the appropriate Georgia Department of Agriculture license for wholesale seafood.
- If the applicant is a commercial seafood harvester, must have reported landings in at least one year between 2015 and 2019;
- Have suffered economic revenue loss related to saltwater species greater than 35 percent in 2020 and/or 2021 as compared to the same months in the five-year period between 2015 and 2019. Newer fishery participants with fewer than five years of activity will compare losses to the number of active years between 2015 and 2019;
- Have not been made more than whole by exceeding the average revenue earned across that five-year period through the combination of this funding, any other COVID-related assistance, and/or any traditional revenue.
Upon completion of the packet, DNR staff will review applications. Any applicant deemed ineligible will have 15 days to appeal.
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