Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced the $3.3 million in federal coronavirus aid money will be available in the coming months to Alabama’s seafood industry, impacted by the outbreak.
In addition to the $3.3 million from the CARES Act, the state is to also receive $8.6 million in federal fisheries disaster relief funds due to freshwater flooding in 2019 that impacted fisheries in the Gulf, according to a press release from Ivey’s office Wednesday.
“The Gulf and its fisheries are vital to Alabama’s economy by providing jobs for fishermen, processors, and others in the seafood industry,” Ivey said in a statement. “We are thankful to provide this much needed relief to those affected in our coastal communities.”
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources worked with the seafood industry to calculate the damages and coordinated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the disaster relief funding.
The federal money isn’t yet available to affected commercial and charter fishing businesses, agriculture operations and seafood processors, however.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) is currently and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish eligibility guidelines for applicants, the press release states. Those guidelines are expected to be finalized and released “in the coming months.”
“Once we receive documentation regarding the guidelines, the state will develop a spending plan and submit it to NOAA for approval,” said Christopher Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner, in a statement. “When approved, we will announce the application period and the requirements for eligibility to the public. I would like to thank Senator Richard Shelby for his work to provide the fisheries disaster funding for the seafood industry and for including the fisheries funding in the CARES Act.”
Visit NOAA’s website for more information on federal relief for fisheries and the response to COVID-19.