The state of Maryland is offering seafood businesses another round of financial support following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced $3.4 million in economic relief for “commercial, for hire, aquaculture, and seafood processing operations whose 2020 or 2021 revenue has suffered a loss of greater than 35 percent in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19.”
The funds come from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.The funding will support activities previously authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It targets workers who haven’t yet received aid from the $4.1 million Maryland distributed in 2020. DNR says more than 1,000 applicants received portions of $3 million in direct assistance. An additionlal $1 million was designated for programs to market Maryland’s commercial fishing, charter, and aquaculture industries.
“We are proud to continue helping Maryland’s seafood industry access much-needed assistance during these difficult times,” said Governor Hogan. “Our goal is to ensure that these relief funds provide direct aid for today, but also make Maryland’s economy more resilient by strengthening markets for the future.”
Seafood industry members eligible for the new round of funding can apply online beginning Aug. 9, 2021 on the Maryland OneStop website. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 27. Companies and individuals that applied for funds in the first round of CARES should not reapply. “Successful first-round applicants will receive an additional payment in fall 2021. The amount of this installment will depend on the number of successful second-round applicants,” DNR explains.
Seafood businesses from oyster farms to watermen suffered due to lack of restaurant demand during the early months of the pandemic. More recently, seafood processors have struggled with labor shortages, consistent with a nationwide trend.
–Meg Walburn Viviano