MDMR accepting public comments for CARES Act assistance to fisheries participants spending plan

20-56-CWS | August 14, 2020

BILOXI, Miss. – With the appropriation of $1,520,087 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to the state of Mississippi for fisheries participants meeting the threshold of economic revenue losses, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is working on a spending plan to distribute these funds. The agency is accepting public comments through August 26, 2020, which can be submitted at CARESActComments@dmr.ms.gov.

 

On May 7, 2020, the Secretary of Commerce announced the appropriation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the 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) compared to the prior five-year average.

 

The Mississippi Spend Plan features the following proposed components:

  • Commercial Fisheries Assistance – 51.9%* of direct payments
  • Seafood Industry Assistance – 31.9%* of direct payments
  • Charter Boat Industry – 16.2%* of direct payments

*Percent allocation based on NOAA recommendation

 

Applicants must be Mississippi residents who are 18 years or older and have possessed a valid Mississippi resident commercial fishing, dealer-processor or charter boat license during the 2019-2020 license year. Applicants may only apply in one category.

 

The application process will be opened for two weeks with a deadline to be determined upon receiving federal approval of this spend plan. No late applications will be considered and there will be no appeals if the deadline is missed.

 

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 acknowledgements and self-certification with penalties outlined for false information. A W-9 form will also be required and retained by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.

 

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. 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 the business. 

 

Within each category described above, an equal amount will be distributed to all eligible applicants who qualify, due to limited funding and to quickly provide CARES Act fisheries relief.

 

Please note, the demonstrated need may far exceed the funds available for disbursement.

 

Retail and related businesses, such as tackle, vessel and gear suppliers, are not eligible.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at dmr.ms.gov.

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