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DMF’s CARES Act Spending Plan Approved

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has approved the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries’ spending plan for federal coronavirus fisheries assistance.

NC DMF, division of marine fisheriesThe Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act is a more than $2 trillion economic relief package. The  next step is for the state to be notified by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that the $5.4 million has been awarded.

The Marine Fisheries spending plan details how the funding will be disbursed through direct payments to eligible commercial fishermen, charter businesses, seafood dealers and processors and qualified marine aquaculture operations.

The division was notified May 7 that NOAA Fisheries had allocated $5.4 million in CARES Act fisheries assistance to North Carolina. Receipt of the funding, which passes through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, was contingent on federal approval of the spending plan, which was received Sept. 9.

The approved spending plan and other related information is available on the division’s CARES Act Fishery Assistance Information Page. The application and other necessary documents will be added to this site when the application period opens.

After receiving notification of the award, the division will implement a 30-day application period, most likely late fall.

The division will announce when application packets are mailed to eligible license, lease and permit holders. Application packets will be available online or at division offices for eligible stakeholders not licensed by the division.

The CARES Act requires applicants for fisheries assistance to meet economic revenue losses greater than 35% as compared to the prior 5-year average revenue to be eligible for relief.

Applicants will be required to complete the application, an affidavit and provide supporting materials that document loss of revenue greater than 35% from March 1 to May 31 as compared to the average revenue from the same period of the previous five-years March 1 to May 31 in 2015-2019, according to the division.

In addition, applicants must affirm that this assistance will not result in overcompensation for their financial losses in calendar year 2020, which means the combination of fisheries assistance with any other CARES Act relief such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Association loan or unemployment payments plus fisheries income and other income in 2020 will not exceed their average annual revenue from the previous five years, or a minimum of one year for those in business less than five years. Only relief that does not need to be paid back should be factored into this equation.

For questions regarding the spending plan, email or call the division’s License and Statistics Office at 252-808-8105.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.