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.
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 Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 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 at www.CoastalGaDNR.org/CARES. Applications must be postmarked by November 6, 2021.
To distribute the funds as quickly as possible, DNR is requesting applicants sign affidavits attesting to the revenue loss, as well as disclosure of other federal and/or state COVID-related financial assistance. This affidavit will be part of the application packet. DNR will provide applicants with worksheets to record monthly revenue from 2015 to 2019 and help calculate the loss in 2020 and/or 2021.
To be eligible, 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. Incomplete applications will be returned via certified mail and applicants will have 15 days from receipt to complete the application and return it. Any applicant deemed ineligible will have 15 days to appeal.
A total of $2,927,195 is slated to be dispersed to successful applicants. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will be the grantee and will distribute the funds based on Georgia’s spending plan.
Members of the media may contact Tyler Jones at email@example.com (912-262-3140).
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