The Secretary of Commerce announced the appropriation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to states, Tribes and territories with coastal and marine fisheries participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. The CARES Act enacts disbursement of funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses, as well as subsistence, cultural or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.
Mississippi is scheduled to receive over $1.5 million to provide for fisheries participants meeting the threshold of economic revenue losses greater than 35% (as required by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)) compared to the prior five-year average. The award amount for each sector will be divided evenly by the number of sector specific applicants. This will result in all individuals in a sector receiving the same payment amount. Please note, the demonstrated need may far exceed the funds available for disbursement.
To be eligible for this program, you must meet the following criteria:
- Resident of Mississippi (provide proof of residency to CARESAct@dmr.ms.gov)
- At least 18 years of age
- Participated in a Gulf State’s saltwater fishing industry outside of the State of Mississippi waters in one of the following sectors for at least one year:
– Commercial fisherman
– Charter For Hire captain
– Possess the appropriate out-of-state license from a Gulf State outside of the State of Mississippi for the 2019 – 2020 fishing year (provide proof of license to CARESAct@dmr.ms.gov).
- Experienced greater than 35% loss in revenue for 2020 (See program guidelines)
- Participant must not be debarred, not on the government “do not pay list,” and in good standing with the Federal and State Government.
- Participant cannot have previously been made whole by other CARES Act funds.
If applying as an individual, you must be a resident of Mississippi. If applying as a business, it must be domiciled in Mississippi and registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State. Businesses farther down the supply chain involved in the retail of seafood are not considered fishery-related businesses and are therefore not eligible for the purposes of this funding per NOAA.
The process will require applicants to provide qualifying licenses and affidavits for self-certification of economic revenue losses greater than 35%. The affidavit will require additional acknowledgments and self-certification with penalties outlined for false information. A W-9 form, incorporated into the application, will be required for payment and retained by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC). Direct payments will be issued to eligible participants by GSMFC.
Fishery participant loss estimation and assessment will be for the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2019, by 12-month period (state fiscal year July 1- June 30), compared to July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, or as deemed appropriate based on specific fishery information gathered. The revenue loss does not have to be for the entire year but should cover January through June 2020. Applicants with less than five years of revenue between 2014 and 2019 are still eligible and should only include average revenue for those years. The minimum consecutive time period for revenue loss review is 30 days.
APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM
Applications open: December 28, 2020
Applications close: January 5, 2021
Please review the program guidelines before applying for the program. You must complete and submit an application, along with any additional required documents.
Funding allocation has been structured so that all applications submitted before the deadline will be considered. The application process will be opened for 7 days. No late applications will be considered and there will be no appeals if the deadline is missed. Applicants will be allowed to apply for funds under one of the sectors only (commercial fishing, dealer/processors, charter boat industry) and only use losses from that sector.
Please have the following items ready and available for the application process:
All applicable 2019-2020 fishing year license numbers
Social security number or Employer ID tax number
Check routing number (if direct deposit)
Check account number (if direct deposit)
Applicable revenue loss information.