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CARES Act Marine Fisheries Relief Program

Fisheries Relief Funding for State Fishing Industries Impacted by COVID-19

New York Fishery Relief Spend Plan (PDF) establishes the framework for distributing New York's allocated $6.7 million in CARES Act Marine Fisheries aid. Funding is available to eligible New York State residents that hold a valid marine permit or license issued by DEC for 2020 and the previous five years, with some exceptions considered as outlined in the spend plan. Eligible fishery sectors include commercial harvesters, for-hire fishing operations, marine aquaculture, and seafood distribution (dealers/processors/wholesalers). New York's mandatory 30-day application period was open through December 31, 2020.

dock with commercial fishing boats

Applicants had to demonstrate a greater than 35 percent revenue loss from fishery-related revenue caused by COVID-19 during the period Feb. 1 to Jul. 31, 2020, over a minimum of 60 consecutive days, relative to the previous five years (2015-2019) for the same period. Applicants had to also demonstrate active participation in one or more of the fishery-related sectors in 2020, and previous years with documented fishing history.


On May 7 2020, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding (leaves DEC website). These funds are provided by Section 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). New York State received $6.7 million in funding for marine fishery industries that have been impacted by closures and lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DEC worked cooperatively with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and NOAA Fisheries to develop a timely and concise fishery relief plan. Relief funding is intended to supplement and support the state's seafood and commercial fishing industries and recreational for-hire fishing fleets that have endured significant economic loss as a result of COVID-19.

As required under the CARES Act, participants eligible for fishery relief funding had to demonstrate economic revenue losses greater than 35% as compared to prior five years. Fishery participants that may be eligible for funding include:

  • Commercial fishing businesses
  • Qualified aquaculture operations
  • For-hire fishing businesses
  • Seafood industry sector

Program Timeline

  • December 2020: 30-Day Application Period Begins
  • December 2020 - February 2021​: Review of Applications ​
  • February - April 2021: Coordinate Distribution of Funds with ASMFC​
  • March - April 2021​: Appeals Process​

For more information, email, or call (631) 444-0473. Visit ASMFC's website (leaves DEC website) for additional information.