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Fishing industry in Hawaii to receive millions in targeted COVID-19 aid

By Staff | May 21, 2020

“This is welcome relief for our struggling local fisheries,” said Brian Neilson, Division of Aquatic Resources administrator. “Unfortunately, it will only cover a fraction of the economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we continue to encourage residents to support our local fishers and seafood producers as much as possible.”

HONOLULU – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) recently announced that more than $4.3 million is now available for the State of Hawaii’s fishing and aquaculture industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is the agency tasked to administer the funds to eligible applicants.

“Those eligible for the funds include commercial fishing businesses, charter for hire fishing companies, qualified aquaculture operations and marine fisheries management agencies,” said Case.

The money was made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which Congress passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support and was signed into law by the president on March 27, 2020.

Nationally, the funds are administered through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For more information on funding for the fishing and aquaculture industries, go to www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/commerce-secretary-announces-allocation-300-million-cares-act-funding.

In addition, last week Thursday, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the CARES Act.

This funding is to states, tribes and territories with coastal and marine fisheries who have been negatively affected by COVID19.

The DLNR and its Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is currently in the process of developing a spending plan, which, if approved by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, will allow fishery participants to apply for financial relief from Hawaii’s $4.3 million portion.

Fishery participants eligible for funding include commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors and other fishery-related businesses.

For more information on eligibility or the application, visit dlnr.aquatics@hawaii.gov.