TRENTON - The Christie Administration announced that 266 fishing-related businesses will share more than $2.1 million in federal grants to help them recover some costs resulting from damages sustained as a result of Superstorm Sandy.
The grant program focused on helping smaller businesses. Owners of bait-and-tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fishermen, for-hire party and charter boat operators, marinas and those involved in shell-fish aquaculture businesses were eligible to apply to the DEP for grants of up to $10,000 to help offset some of the costs of the storm on their operations.
"The DEP and our Marine Fisheries staff have worked tirelessly since Sandy to help these businesses get back on their feet," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "Our economically vital commercial and recreational fishing industries are coming back after the devastation caused by Sandy. This grant program will help our smaller fishing-related businesses recover some of their losses."
Grants were provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of a federal fishery disaster declaration for states impacted by Sandy.
Applicants had to document a minimum of $5,000 in losses as a result of Sandy. Grants were awarded to help with repair or replacement of equipment that was not covered by other programs. Activities already paid for out-of-pocket as part of a business' or individual's recovery effort also were eligible.
Examples of losses eligible for reimbursement include lost or damaged fishing gear; lost, damaged or ruined product; replacement and/or repair of other equipment; replacement and repair of infrastructure; and revenue lost in the months immediately after Sandy struck in October 2012.
Grants to marinas and commercial fishermen represented slightly more than half the grant applications approved for funding, with the next largest share to bait-and-tackle shops and for-hire businesses. Grants also were awarded to shellfish harvest/aquaculture businesses and commercial dealers.
"Every little bit helps, that's for sure," said Jason Durante, General Manager of Ocean Marina, which received a $10,000 grant for damages sustained at its Lavallette marina, one of three the company owns. "We're starting to see more and more people on the island. We're seeing the industry come back."
New Jersey's commercial fishing industry is one of the largest on the East Coast, landing roughly 121 million pounds of seafood and generating more than $1 billion in economic activity in 2013. The economic impact of recreational fishing also supports approximately 10,000 jobs and $1.74 billion in annual sales.
For more information about the DEP's ongoing Sandy recovery efforts, including FAQs on beach and boater safety, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy.
For more information on post-Sandy coastal projects in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/shoreprotection/projects.htm