Deadline approaching for federal COVID relief funds for marine industry participants

Commercial shrimper
Brunswick, Ga.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reminds marine commercial and for-hire industry participants the deadline to apply for federal financial relief related to COVID-19 is Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. 

Participants in Georgia’s marine commercial and for-hire industry who experienced a greater than 35 percent loss in revenue between March and May 2020 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 commercial fishermen, wholesale dealers, processors of saltwater species, aquaculturists with a Georgia commercial fishing license, and for-hire guides. Eligible applicants must have experienced a revenue loss of more than 35 percent compared to the same period for the previous five years.

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 any potential applicants who did not receive an application packet. The application can also be downloaded at Applications must be postmarked by October 15, 2020.

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 a worksheet to record monthly revenue for March, April and May from 2015 to 2019 and help calculate the loss in 2020.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a Georgia resident or corporation doing business in Georgia; and
  • Licensure:
  • Commercial fishing or seafood dealer - Applicants must have one of the following GADNR licenses during the 2020 fishing license year: commercial fishing, commercial vessel, or seafood dealer.
  • For-hire - Applicants must possess a GADNR saltwater guide license in fishing license year 2020.
  • Wholesale dealers/processors - Applicants must possess the appropriate Georgia Department of Agriculture license for wholesale seafood during 2020.
  • 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 March, April and May 2020 as compared to the same months in the prior five-year period. Newer fishery participants with fewer than five years of activity will compare losses to the number of active years;
  • Have not been made more than whole by exceeding the average revenue earned across the previous five years 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 $1,873,073 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.

For more information, contact Julie Califf at (912-262-3120) or Cindy Smith at (912-262-3350) of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division.

Members of the media may contact Tyler Jones at (912-262-3140). 

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