WASHINGTON – The Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone announced the award of $4,125,118 for Maryland’s fishing industry through the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last month, the delegation wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and NOAA Administrator Chris Oliver to urge the swift allocation of this funding, which was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provided $300 million nationally for businesses in the fishing industry who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Maryland’s seafood industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the delegation. “These predominantly small and family-owned businesses urgently need our help as the livelihoods of thousands of Maryland families depend on their ability to weather this storm. We need to see this funding awarded as quickly as possible for the good of Marylanders and our local and state economies.”
Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses are eligible for this relief. Maryland will work with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to determine how to verify which fishery participants meet the threshold of economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial fisheries. Recipients may use the funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses and subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. Funding allocations among states, tribes, and territories are based on total annual revenue information from the commercial fishing, charter fishing, aquaculture, and processor/seafood sectors.