DEM to accept applications for $3.1M in fisheries assistance

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management on Friday said it will begin accepting applications for a total of $3.1 million available for fisheries assistance starting Sept. 14.

The funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Applicants can include commercial harvesters, commercial aquaculturists, seafood processors and dealers, for-hire vessels and business owners.

Eligible applicants must have incurred, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a documented fishery-related loss in revenue between March and May 2020 greater than 35% to related average revenue earned in the same timespan over the previous five years, or applicable years in operation.

Applicants must also be Rhode Island residents, at least 18 years old, and have owned a properly licensed business in 2020 that was engaged in one of the eligible fishery sectors between March 1 and May 31 during at least one year over the five-year period between 2015 and 2019.

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Applications may be found online, or picked up at the following locations:

  • DEM Division of Coastal Resources, 301 Great Island Road, Narragansett
  • DEM Division of Marine Fisheries, 3 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown
  • DEM Office of Technical and Customer Assistance, 235 Promenade St., Providence

Applications must be hand delivered to one of those three offices by 4 p.m. on Sept. 28. The DEM said that applicants may request their landing and sales data from the DEM online, but the portal will close on Sept. 23.

Sector by sector allocations will be as follows:

  • $1.98 million for commercial fishing
  • $171,068 for commercial aquaculture
  • $902,858 for seafood processing/wholesale
  • $110,887 for for-hire fishing, including $74,288 for party/head boat allocation and $36,589 for charter boat allocation.