The Murphy Administration is making $11.2 million in financial assistance available to commercial and recreational fishing businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced the assistance which is part of the $300 Million Federal CARES Act. The funding is available as grants to eligible businesses that document a 35-percent loss in revenues as a result of the pandemic.
“Fishing is an integral part of New Jersey’s identity and a critical component of our economy”, said Gov. Murphy “This grant program will help these businesses recover losses they have incurred during very difficult times. And we can all play a role in supporting New Jersey’s fishing industry by buying from local seafood suppliers and enjoying fishing through charter boat operations and bait and tackle shops.”
Estimates place the economic value of commercial and recreational fishing in New Jersey at some $2.5 billion annually. As part of its efforts to assist the commercial industry, the DEP and New Jersey Department of Agriculture have launched a Support New Jersey Seafood website. It provides the public and consumers with information and an interactive map of businesses that sell seafood products that have been landed, grown or harvested in New Jersey. A similar online tool is being developed for recreational fishing businesses.
“The DEP is pleased to assist in bringing this much-needed financial support to New Jersey’s valuable fishing industry and communities, which have been hard hit by the COVID pandemic,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We are especially grateful to New Jersey’s legislative delegation and our federal partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for their support of this program.”
The funding comes from a $300 million allocation for fishing industries in coastal states provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This assistance is made possible through the collaboration of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the members of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration will review applications and administer financial assistance to eligible businesses.