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CARES Act: Marine and Coastal Fisheries Assistance from COVID-19 Effects

(Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security)

 

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General CARES Act Eligibility:

  • Resident or business in New Hampshire
  • Must have held a 2020 New Hampshire license or equivalent 2020 license if you fish exclusively in other states during part or all of the qualification period. Months of qualification vary by group.
  • Must have suffered a >35% loss in gross revenue from previous reported 5-year average within the qualification period, or less if not in business for five years. 
  • Must have been in business for at least one year between 2015-2019 within the qualification period.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • Must be in good standing with the State and Federal Government.
  • The total of assistance from this program, other COVID‐19 pandemic related relief funds, and the applicant’s 2020 total gross revenue must not make the applicant “more than whole” compared to the 5-year average of gross revenue (or less if not in business for five years).

 

CARES Act Applications:

  • If you are pre-qualified based on mandatory reported information or hold a 2020 New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing Vessel Charter license for a vessel that does not possess federal permits with mandatory trip reporting (all federal permits except HMS) you will be sent an application. If you are not pre-qualified and meet the eligibility criteria for the below fisheries or seafood group(s), please use the appropriate application(s) below.
  • Applications must be received or postmarked within the application period.  See dates next to the appropriate application(s) once they are posted. Applications will not all be posted at the same time and will be posted as they are distributed. Applications postmarked outside of the application period will not be accepted.

 

 

Overview of CARES Act:


On May 7, 2020, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in coastal and marine fisheries assistance funding through Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, CARES Act, to states, territories, and tribes with fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries determined the revenue impacts relating to COVID-19 on the fishing communities and allocations to partners—the interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—to fairly disburse funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts. The table below is a summary of allocations to the Atlantic coast states. The NOAA CARES Act Funding webpage shows the full list of state, territory, and tribal distributions – NOAA – CARES Act (COVID-19). See additional information pdf on the fishing sector-based proportion of revenues for each state that contributed to the total U.S. revenues used in the allocation of the $300M of CARES Act funds from NOAA Fisheries. New Hampshire has been allocated $2,710,668 from this CARES Act package.


General Process:


Each state along the East Coast, will develop spend plans based on the CARES Act criteria and NOAA’s guidance. Fishery participants eligible for funding include tribes, commercial fishing businesses, for-hire fishing businesses, aquaculture businesses, seafood processors and dealers, and other fishery-related businesses. All spend plans must describe how the funding, including direct payments, fishery-related infrastructure, and fishery-related education, will address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to the commercial harvesters, for-hire fishing businesses, aquaculture businesses, subsistence/tribal users, processors and dealers, and other fishery-related businesses. Once a state’s spend plan has been approved by NOAA, the states will work with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to process payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of the states.

 

Also of note, for the purposes of Sec. 12005 funding, businesses farther down the supply chain—including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers—are not considered "fishery-related businesses."

 

New Hampshire Spend Plan Development Process:

 

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Marine Division (NHFG) will be working through the ASMFC to finalize the New Hampshire (NH) CARES Act fisheries/seafood relief spend plan to be submitted to NOAA Fisheries. The New Hampshire Spend Plan will be developed through a public process with industry participation:

 

  1. Small Sector and sub-sector workgroups (aquaculture, for-hire, commercial saltwater and lobster, and seafood processors/dealers) met to develop a strawman spending plan for each group.
  2. NHFG sent the workgroup’s strawman spending plan to the 2020 licensed industry in a survey platform for the industry, as a whole, to comment.
  3. NHFG assembled the individual Sectors spending plans into one NH Spend Plan.
  4. The spend plan was formally submitted and approved by NOAA Fisheries.
  5. The Advisory Workgroup will work with NHFG through the approval and remaining industry’s qualification and appeal processes.
  6. The NHFG will work with ASMFC and the qualified seafood industry to get the funding out as soon as possible.

 

The NHFG started the process of developing a NH Spend Plan by coordinating with selected members of the industry in small workgroups from the seafood dealers/processors, commercial harvesters, for-hire recreational, and marine aquaculture sectors to develop strawman spend plans for each sector. NHFG will have a draft spend plan to present to NOAA Fisheries by mid-August.

 

The five small workgroups met in June for their first meetings and drafted survey questions for the rest of the industries to have input into the spend plans. The second set of meetings; Aquaculture workgroup met in July, and the other four workgroups in August, allowed the workgroups to refine the spend plan based on survey results. Surveys were either emailed or mailed to the licensed industry members of the drafted strawman spend plans for public comment.

 

Seafood Sectors Workgroup Meetings – only 4-5 members/Workgroup:

Aquaculture

  • 1st Workgroup meeting, June 2
  • 2nd Workgroup meeting, July 16

For-Hire

  • 1st Workgroup meeting, June 5
  • 2nd Workgroup meeting, August 6

Commercial

  • 1st Commercial Saltwater and Lobster Workgroup meetings, June 9 and 11
  • 2nd Commercial Saltwater and Lobster Workgroup meetings, August 3 and 4

Dealers and Processers

  • 1st Workgroup meeting, June 16th
  • 2nd Workgroup meeting, August 5

Advisory

  • 1st Workgroup meeting, August 12

 

Seafood Sector Workgroup's presentations, survey results, and membership:

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

  • What are Spend Plans?
    • A Spend Plan pdf outlines how New Hampshire will strategically plan, qualify, and fairly disperse the grant funds to the affected industries under the criteria and guidance from the CARES Act and NOAA Fisheries.
  • How will New Hampshire receive the allocation of funds ($2,710,668)?
    • NOAA Fisheries will grant the allocated Atlantic Coast funds to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. New Hampshire will first work with the affected fishing and seafood industries, create a spend plan, then submit a qualified list of businesses and amount to be distributed to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for payment.  All funds must be dispersed by September 2021.
  • Does every fishing or seafood business qualify for CARES Act relief funds?
    • No. Only businesses that suffered greater than a 35% loss caused by COVID-19 relative to previous five years will qualify for these funds. See the Spend Plan pdf for information on the specific group within a sector or sector for eligibility criteria.
  • How can a business or individual apply?
    • Pre-qualified applications are in the process of being mailed out based on mandatory reported information. Applications will also be posted to the website for those not pre-qualified but meet eligibility criteria. Pre-qualified businesses/individuals must use the application they are sent to apply. Those not pre-qualified may use the application on the website or call Region 3 at 603-868-1095 for a copy. Applications for the different groups within the sectors will be posted when they are available. 
  • When can businesses/individuals apply?
    • A business/individual may apply during the application window for that group using the pre-qualified application received in the mail or the application on the website if not pre-qualified but eligible. Applications received or postmarked after the qualification period will not be accepted
  • If I am pre-qualified do I automatically get funds?
    • No. You must meet all eligibility criteria including not being “made more than whole” (see below).  We cannot determine if you are being “made more than whole”. You must submit a completed application during the two week application period even if you are pre-qualified.
  • What does being “made more than whole” mean?
    • The total of assistance from this program, other COVID‐19 pandemic related relief funds, and the 2020 total gross revenue must not make the applicant “more than whole” compared to the applicants 5-year average of gross revenue (or less if not in business for five years).  See examples below:

Example #1.  Business/Individual pre-qualifies with a greater than 35% loss in 2020 compared to the average revenue during the qualification period between 2015 and 2019, but would be made “more than whole” because the annual revenue in 2020 (which may include other received CARES Act assistance funding sources) is higher than the 5-year average annual gross revenue and therefore cannot accept funds.

 

  Gross Revenue  
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Avg

15-19

2020 % loss Qualified

Qualification Period Revenue

(Mar 1 – July 31)

$1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $500 50% Yes
Annual Revenue $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $3,000 No Loss No

 

Example #2.  Business/Individual pre-qualifies with a greater than 35% loss in 2020 compared to the average revenue during the qualification period between 2015 and 2019 and could accept funds because the annual revenue in 2020 (which may include other received CARES Act assistance funding sources) is less than the 5-year average annual gross revenue between 2015 and 2019.

 

  Gross Revenue  
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Avg

15-19

2020 % loss Qualified

Qualification Period Revenue

(Mar 1 – July 31)

$1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $500 50% Yes
Annual Revenue $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $,2000 $1,500 25% Yes*

 

*May receive up to the difference between average gross revenue (2015-2019) and total 2020 revenue. In this example up to $500.

 

  • What if I am a resident of New Hampshire but conduct my seafood business or fish in another state?
      • As the CARES Act indicates, your state of residency is one of the eligible criteria to receive funds. If you are a resident of New Hampshire and feel you qualify for CARES Act funds, please contact the Region 3 Office, Reg3@wildlife.nh.gov or call 603-868-1095, so we can work with you to determine further eligibility. If you reside in another state but conduct your seafood business in New Hampshire you must contact your state of residence. Here is a link to the ASMFC website that identifies an email and/or contact information for all the Atlantic coast states working with the ASMFC.
  • How much money will I receive?
    • All applications need to be received and processed before there is a determination about the value of funds to each qualified individual/business. In each group, the amount will be proportional to the loss. Each individual/businesses loss will be used to determine the percentage of funds that will be received from the amount of money allocated to that group.
  • When will I receive funds?
    • Once all received applications have been processed and the appeal process has been completed, funds will be distributed via check.
  • Are the funds taxable?
    • Yes. You will receive a 1099 Miscellaneous Form and any funding received will be taxable.
  • Who can I contact with further questions?

 

NH Fish and Game Marine Division Contacts: