TRENTON - The Murphy administration is making $11.2 million in financial assistance available to commercial and recreational fishing businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, Gov. Phil Murphy and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced Oct. 15.
According to a release, the funding is available, as grants, to eligible businesses that document a 35% loss in revenues as a result of the pandemic.
“Fishing is an integral part of New Jersey’s identity and a critical component of our economy," stated Murphy. “This grant program will help these businesses recover losses they have incurred during very difficult times, and we can all play a role in supporting New Jersey’s fishing industry by buying from local seafood suppliers and enjoying fishing through charter boat operations and bait and tackle shops.”
“The DEP is pleased to assist in bringing this much-needed financial support to New Jersey’s valuable fishing industry and communities, which have been hard hit by the COVID pandemic,” stated DEP Commissioner McCabe. “We are especially grateful to New Jersey’s legislative delegation and our federal partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for their support of this program.”
The funding comes from a $300 million allocation for fishing industries in coastal states provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This assistance is made possible through the collaboration of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the members of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries administration will review applications and administer financial assistance to eligible business.
Estimates place the economic value of commercial and recreational fishing in New Jersey at some $2.5 billion annually. As part of its efforts to assist the commercial industry, the DEP and New Jersey Department of Agriculture have launched a Support New Jersey Seafood website. It provides the public and consumers with information and an interactive map of businesses that sell seafood products that have been landed, grown or harvested in New Jersey. A similar on-line tool is being developed for recreational fishing businesses.
Program Details for Applicants
An online application will be available Oct. 19 through DEP’s electronic grants management system, NJDEP SAGE at https://njdepsage.intelligrants.com.
Details on the specific information that must be provided are available at the Marine Fisheries administration’s CARES website at www.njfishandwildlife.com/cares_info.htm. Applications will be posted here, as well as other updates to the program. Questions may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants will have 30 days from the date of the posting of the online application to request funding. The amount of individual payments to applicants will be based on the number of total eligible applicants and the allocation of funds across three different sectors:
- Commercial and aquaculture businesses,
- Processors and dealers and
- Recreational fisheries
Eligible fisheries-related businesses include commercial fisheries, aquaculture businesses, processors, dealers, and recreational fishery businesses, including for-hire businesses as well as bait and tackle shops. The program requirements stipulate that some businesses in the sector, including vessel repair shops, seafood retail locations, and restaurants, are not eligible to receive assistance under this program.
To be eligible:
- Applicants must have experienced a greater than 35 percent loss in fishery related revenues between March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, as compared to their 5-year average revenue for the same time period.
- Individual applicants must be New Jersey residents and business applicants must be located in New Jersey.
- Applicants must have been in business for at least one year prior to 2020.
- Applicants will be required to provide a total estimate of revenue for the full year of 2020 and provide information on all Covid-19 related financial assistance that they are receiving.
- Applicants must meet all mandatory licensing and permitting requirements in their sector for 2020.
For more CARES Act information and resources from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, visit www.asmfc.org/home/cares-act-resources.