MOREHEAD CITY – More than $ 4.3 million in financial aid will go to relevant members of the fishing industry who suffered loss of income from March to December 2020 due to COVID-19.
This week, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Division has allocated funds to 265 commercial fishermen and marine aquaculture operations, hiring fisheries, and seafood dealers and processors who are believed eligible for assistance from the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Program on the Consolidated Appropriations of North Carolina (CARES II). Payments were made in the following categories:
In August 2021, North Carolina was allocated a net amount of $ 4,385,651 under the CARES II Act to provide financial assistance through direct payments to groups of fisheries stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal law required applicants to document a total loss of income greater than 35% compared to the average total income for the same period of the previous five years to be eligible for the relief. In addition, applicants were required to confirm that this assistance, combined with any other benefits received under the CARES Act, would not result in overcompensation for their financial losses in the 2020 calendar year.
The department developed a participatory spending plan for the program, which was approved by NOAA Fisheries in August 2021. Applications were accepted from August 16 to October 1, 2021. No funds may be distributed until all applications and appeals have been considered and completed because the funds have been allocated on the basis of a share (percentage) of the total income from the declared losses from fishing in the stakeholder group relative to the total fund available to that group. .
The proportions allocated to each eligible stakeholder category differ from those originally approved in the cost plan. After reviewing and approving the relevant applications, the maximum amount that could be awarded to the relevant applicants in the “Hiring Operations” category was $ 439,198.44. This amount compensated 100% of the approved losses in the category of “Hiring Operations” and remained unspent 613,357.56 US dollars. The CARES Act II cost plan allowed the transfer of surplus funds from the category of full compensation to the category of the lowest proportional compensation, so the unspent amount from the category of rental stakeholders was reallocated to the category of seafood dealers and processors. This increased compensation for seafood dealers and processors from 4.5% of approved losses to 9.93% of approved losses.
The proportion of distribution has not changed in the category of commercial fishermen and marine aquaculture operations. Stakeholders in this category were reimbursed 28.95% of the approved losses.
In addition, $ 160,295 was used for the unit’s administrative costs.