Governor Kathy Hochul announced $5.7 million in federal aid provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act is being distributed to New York’s seafood, marine commercial, and for-hire fishing industries. This funding is in addition to $7.4 million provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, for a total of $13.1 million in aid for New York’s marine fishing industries after excessive business losses in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic greatly disrupted the tourism, dining, and recreational industries over these past two years, and New York’s marine fishing industries were not immune,” Governor Hochul said. “Fishing industries are vital economic drivers in countless communities across New York State, and the funding provided today is essential to helping sustain jobs and ensure the future prosperity of this industry for generations to come.”
“Many marine fishing businesses struggled throughout the COVID pandemic as workers became difficult to hire or retain and the business model switched to a more straight to consumer-based model than a restaurant-based model,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “This additional federal appropriation for the marine fishing industry will provide much needed relief above and beyond the Coronavirus funding previously provided and help save New York’s seafood, marine commercial, and for-hire fishing industries.”
The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Marine Fisheries Relief Program administers federal aid to assist New York’s marine fishing industries and provide critical support for COVID-19 economic recovery. Eligible New York State applicants from seafood distribution, commercial fishing, and marine recreational for-hire fishing businesses are awarded relief based on their reported economic loss experienced in 2020 and 2021 compared to the previous five years.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “We are committed to supporting our marine fishing and seafood industries as they respond to challenges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The aid announced by Governor Hochul and secured by our federal leaders is essential for these industries to build back, but we must also continue to support and strengthen our marine fishing interests that provide invaluable recreational opportunities and fresh, local seafood.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “This is a huge catch for New York’s fishing industry. I am proud to have hooked this historic $5.7 million in federal relief for businesses from the Great Lakes to the Long Island Sound. New York’s fishing industry is still reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and this dedicated assistance will help one of our oldest heritage industries leave troubled waters and set sail on a path to recovery and a brighter future.”
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, “New York’s fisheries are a necessary part of the state’s economic wellbeing, and I commend Governor Hochul on today’s announcement to allocate $5.7 million in federal funding secured in Congress through the 2022 federal budget to help in the ongoing relief and recovery of New York’s fisheries following the impact of the pandemic. This much needed funding will help bolster jobs and security for individuals and families whose livelihoods are tied to the fishing industry within our state.”
The state’s allocation was determined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries based on the total average annual revenues from New York’s fishery-related businesses. DEC worked cooperatively with NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to establish the framework for determining eligibility and distributing this funding. Award recipients will receive a letter accompanied by a check via mail to the address provided on their application.
DEC received 204 applications during the application period between December 1, 2021, through January 14, 2022. Awards will be distributed to 194 applicants that met State and federal requirements, including demonstrating more than a 35 percent loss in revenue during the eligible time periods. For those applicants whose applications were denied, DEC is providing an opportunity to appeal and reserved aid for those that are deemed eligible.
Awards distributed today range from $400 to $100,000 – with more than half the eligible applicants receiving greater than $17,500. Award amounts were based upon the loss reported by applicants and they received an award of up to 40 percent of their reported loss. More than half of the applications received were from commercial harvesters that experienced losses up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seafood shipping businesses and the aquaculture industry were a smaller portion of applications but their losses exceeded multiple millions of dollars. New York’s for-hire fishing industry also experienced significant economic loss ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some award recipients may be the subject of a federal audit. For more information on the Marine Fisheries Relief Program, visit DEC’s website.
DEC established an advisory group of industry representatives to provide input and essential review while developing the framework for award distribution. The advisory group assisted the development of this comprehensive program to ensure New York’s diverse seafood and fishing industries receive fair and equitable funding support. Members of the advisory group are:
- Robert Danielson, Marine Resources Advisory Council Member and Recreational Fishing Stakeholder;
- Melissa Dearborn, Marine Resources Advisory Council Member and Marine Trade Industry Representative;
- Neil Delanoy, For-Hire Fishing Industry Representative;
- Anthony DiLernia, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council New York Representative and For-Hire Fishing Industry Representative;
- Daniel Farnham, Jr., Commercial Fishing Industry Representative;
- Emerson Hasbrouck, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County;
- Thomas Jordan, Marine Resources Advisory Council Member and Commercial Fishing Industry Representative;
- Paul McCormick, Aquaculture Industry Representative;
- Christopher Quartuccio, Aquaculture Industry Representative;
- Gregg Rivera, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County; and
- August Ruckdeschel, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.
New York State is undertaking a wide range of efforts to promote recreational fishing, restore marine ecosystems, strengthen Long Island’s economy, and combat climate change. This includes the expansion of New York’s Artificial Reef Program, the nation’s largest offshore wind program, record investments in the Environmental Protection Fund and clean water infrastructure, a ban on offshore drilling, and continued progress on the Long Island Shellfish Restoration Initiative.
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