COVID-19 and CARES Act Resources for Fishing and Seafood Communities

Waterfront in Sitka, Alaska

Photo: Waterfront in Sitka, Alaska

These tough times are creating uncertainty and instability for the seafood and fishing industries, and we know many of our friends and partners, from seafood suppliers, chefs, fishing guides, and family commercial fishermen, are struggling. Coastal communities around the U.S. are made up of family businesses that provide fresh, local seafood and recreational fishing experiences for millions of Americans, and we want to ensure they continue to thrive after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

The Marine Fish Conservation Network is here to support our partners and members any way we can. We’ve compiled useful information and resources about potential avenues for economic relief in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in hopes that many of you will be able to take advantage of the disaster relief programs available.

Congress’ third federal stimulus package provides about $2 trillion to individuals, businesses and states in further response to the coronavirus pandemic. This legislation is in addition to two previous stimulus packages passed by Congress in as many weeks – the first, a $8.3 billion measure geared toward further developing a vaccine for the virus, and the second, which also passed last week, aimed at greater access to paid sick leave for workers, as well as increased testing for the virus.

Highlights of the CARES Act include:

  • $150 billion to aid state, local and tribal governments;
  • $500 billion for loans and assistance to companies and state and local governments, including $29 billion for U.S. airlines and related businesses. Additional funds would be provided to aviation workers;
  • Payments of up to $1,200 for individual taxpayers, and $500 per child, phased out when incomes exceed $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples who file jointly;
  • An additional $600 per week for those receiving unemployment benefits;
  • $300 million in direct relief for the fishing industry; and
  • $349 billion in low-interest small business loans, some of which will be forgiven.

The Secretary of Commerce has been designated to dispense the $300 million allocated to the fishing community, but the bill does not specify how those funds will be distributed.

We’ve found some helpful resources online to help you get the assistance you need, and we’ve aggregated links below to help you sort through the large amount of information that’s out there.

Government resources

About Rob Vandermark

Rob Vandermark is the executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.

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