TOMS RIVER – Fishermen, both commercial and recreational, can apply for their businesses to receive a share of $11.2 million in financial aid to offset losses incurred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari announced recently that online applications are immediately available on the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The money is being administered by the state as part of a $300 million federal CARES Act grant and is available to a wide range of fishing-related industries.
Commercial fisheries, aquaculture businesses, processors, dealers, and recreational fishery businesses, including for-hire businesses and bait and tackle shops are all eligible to apply.
The funding has certain requirements:
- Applicants must have experienced a greater than 35 percent loss in fishery-related revenues between March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, as compared to their 5-year average revenue for the same time period.
- Individual applicants must be New Jersey residents and business applicants must be located in New Jersey.
- Applicants must have been in business for at least one year prior to 2020.
- Applicants will be required to provide a total estimate of revenue for the full year of 2020 and provide information on all COVID-19 related financial assistance that they are receiving.
- Applicants must meet all mandatory licensing and permitting requirements for 2020.
“I want to thank Gov. Phil Murphy for making this money available to our fishing businesses. From Tuckerton to Point Pleasant Beach our fishing community has a long and prosperous history in Ocean County,” Vicari said.
Commercial and recreational fishing pump about $2.5 billion into the state’s economy each year. About 30 million pounds of fish are brought into Ocean County ports each year, with a worth of more than $46 million annually.
Since the pandemic started, fishing revenue in the state is down around 35 percent, according to the DEP. Applicants have 30 days to apply for a grant and the amounts awarded will be based in part on the total number of applications submitted.
“All qualified commercial and recreational fishing business owners should submit an application immediately. Please take advantage of this important program,” Vicari added.
Applications can be found at the website at njdepsage.intelligrants.com. Further information can also be gleaned from the Ocean County Government webpage at co.ocean.nj.us. Click on the Coronavirus update box.