New Jersey gains CARES Act spend plan approval

Published on
October 13, 2020

New Jersey has become the latest state to get approval for its CARES Act spend plan, opening up USD 11.1 million (EUR 9.6 million) in funds for the purpose of offsetting fishery losses from COVID-19.

Several other states have also received CARES Act spend plan approval, which was released in May. In total, USD 300 million (EUR 255.6 million) has been made available to states, territories, and tribes in the U.S. for the purpose of aiding aspects of the seafood industry in the wake of COVID-19 related losses.

New Jersey’s plan, like those of several other states, acknowledges the hardships that the state’s USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.28 billion) industry has faced due to the ongoing pandemic.

“Though New Jersey has begun reopening phases, the fishery industries of New Jersey are likely to continue to see economic impacts as restaurants and for-hire charters will need to operate at a smaller capacity to accommodate for social distancing, in addition to continued suppressed demand as many New Jersians continue to avoid crowds in confined spaces,” the plan states.

The state plans to give direct payments to individuals that can prove they have adequate needs to qualify. NOAA has made the threshold to be eligible a greater than 35 percent loss of revenue.

The funding will be split into three sectors: commercial and aquaculture, recreational fishery, and processors and dealers. New Jersey, unlike some other states, plans to award different percentages than what was laid out by NOAA during the initial allocation of the funding.  

To that end, the commercial and aquaculture sector will receive 55 percent of the funding, or USD 6.1 million (EUR 5.2 million); Processors and dealers will receive 35 percent of the funding, or USD 3.8 million (EUR 3.2 million); and recreational fisheries will receive 10 percent of the funding, or USD 1.1 million (EUR 937,000).

In order to be eligible for funds, the applicant must prove that the fishery-related revenue losses suffered between 1 March through June 30, 2020, are greater than 35 percent of the average revenue between the years 2015 to 2019.

As with most other states that have approved CARES Act fund-disbursement plans, New Jersey requires applicants to prove they are a resident of the state, are over 18 years of age, and have all applicable licenses and permits for the sector they are applying for – to be verified by the state.

New Jersey will calculate payments based on a “ratio of available sector funding to reported losses for the entire sector multiplied by their individual reported loss.”

“For example, if total reported losses for a sector is USD 20 million [EUR 17 million] and that sector has been allocated USD 1 million [EUR 851,900] in CARES funding, then each eligible applicant in that sector will receive a direct payment equal to 1/20 or 5 percent of their reported loss.”

New Jersey is planning to have the awards disbursed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection by the end of November at the latest.  

Photo courtesy of Erin Cadigan/Shutterstock

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