The Secretary of Commerce announced the additional appropriation of $255 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, to states 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 nearly $3 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. However, no applicant will receive compensation exceeding their reported losses. 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 (out-of-state license holders must provide MS state identification in the application).
  • At least 18 years of age.
  • Participated in a Gulf State’s saltwater fishing industry in one of the following sectors for at least one year:
    • Commercial fisherman
    • Dealer/processor
    • Charter For Hire captain
  • Possess the appropriate MDMR resident license or out-of-state license from another for the 2019 – 2020 or 2020 – 2021 fishing year (out-of-state license holders must provide proof of license in the application).
  • Experienced greater than 35% loss in revenue for January – June 2020 or July – December 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 received full compensation through receipt of these funds, funds received under CARES Act, Section 12005, any other COVID-19 related federal financial assistance, and/or any traditional revenue earned in 2020, when compared to the previous five-year average annual revenue earned.

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 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.

The revenue loss should cover any consecutive time frame of at least 28-days between January through June 2020 or July through December 2020, as compared to a prior five-year average of the same period. Individuals or organizations that have not been in the qualifying fisheries or seafood business for five years prior can provide an affidavit for revenue losses for the actual time frame they have been in business if that period is at least one year prior to 2020.  Each participant may apply for any or all periods where they had loss greater than 35%, for at least 28 days, as compared to a prior five-year average of the same period, with the following provisions:

Mississippi residents who missed MDMR’s first CARES Act program in 2020 due to the fast-paced schedule for disaster recovery fund distribution may apply for losses in the 2021 program for January through June 2020. No participant will receive compensation exceeding their reported loss. Those participants will need to reapply through a separate application for any losses documented for July through December 2020.

Mississippi residents who qualified in MDMR’s first CARES Act program in 2020 but did not receive complete compensation for their reported losses January through June 2020 will automatically be included again in the 2021 program revisiting that period (January through June 2020). No participant will receive compensation exceeding their reported loss. Those participants will need to reapply through a separate application for any losses documented for July through December 2020.

Mississippi residents providing proof of appropriate qualifying licenses in another Gulf of Mexico state are eligible if only applying in Mississippi.


Applications open: October 20, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

Applications close: November 19, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

Please review the program guidelines before applying. You must complete and submit a signed 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 30 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:

  • Contact information.
  • Email address.
  • All applicable 2019-2020/2020-2021 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.

If you need assistance submitting your application, please contact the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources at 228-374-5000. If you have questions regarding the status of your application or payment, or if you do not receive an email with your application information, please contact Traci Floyd at 228-523-4068 or