Second round of CARES Act money now available to Coast fishermen

The Department of Marine Resources announced today the second round of CARES money has been released.
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Fishermen who are eager to get assistance with COVID-related losses in 2020 can now apply. The Department of Marine Resources opened up a web portal Wednesday for the second phase of CARES Act relief.

The first round of CARES relief money only applied to COVID-related business losses from January to June of 2020. However, the second round applies to both that time frame and losses incurred from July to December 2020.

“The fishermen will have to show a 35% loss to be eligible. that goes for any applicant, whether you’re a commercial fisherman, a charter fisherman or a seafood dealer/processor,” said Ryan Bradley, Director of Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United.

That loss has to be shown, compared to the average of the previous five years. Any fishermen who did not apply for the first round may apply now for any losses in 2020.

“Biologically, (2020) was a pretty good season as far as the shrimp and the crabs,” explained Frank Parker, a commercial fisherman from Vancleave. “But economically, we took a big hit because all the major processors were shut down with all the restrictions and the things like that.

“We were able to catch our product, but we weren’t able to sell them.”

Besides having losses related to COVID in 2020, South Mississippi fishermen have suffered this year too.

“I think the fishers are very anxious to see some of this funding finally make its way out,” Bradley said. “I think the fishermen have had a tough go at it this year.”

Parker said he received the money in the first round, and he plans to apply for funds in the second round as well. The paltry showing from his crab traps on Wednesday backed him up.

“I know it’s been a long, drawn-out process for this second time getting it. You know it took a long time to get it allocated and the coming come down the pipe,” Parker said. “But it couldn’t come at a better time. Our season this year has been awful with the shrimp and the crab just with the amount of rain we’ve had, not necessarily COVID related.”

Those who did not receive all the relief applied for in the first round will automatically be included for the January to June period, but must re-apply for July through December relief.

“Any funding that’s coming down for the fishermen is greatly appreciated,” Bradley said. “I know our hard-working men and women on the water are going to be very thankful for this funding. It’s a grant, it’s not a loan, and I hope as many fishermen can take advantage of it as possible.”

The first round of CARES funds distributed $1.43 million to 223 people in South Mississippi. the second round has $3 million available.

The deadline to apply for the funds is November 19 at 11:59 p.m. If you’d like to apply, click here.

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