Louisiana Fishermen impacted by COVID-19 can soon apply for federal aid

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – The Louisiana Deparment of Wildlife and Fisheries will soon begin accepting applications for financial assistance that will be available to fishermen and others in the industry who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the $12.4 million in financial assistance will open on Monday, August 9 at 8:00 a.m.

The process will be open online only for a three week period.

The deadline to submit an application is August 29 at 11:59 p.m.

Funding allocation has been structured so that all applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.

Officials say the funds are part of Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CARES 2.0) and will be distributed as direct aid payments by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to those who qualify.

“These federal funds are another step in alleviating some of the financial impacts of the pandemic on our state,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “While we know these funds are not a cure-all, we are grateful for the relief they will provide to our hardworking fishing community.”

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet agreed with Gov. Edwards. “This is more crucial aid for our fishing community. While it will not totally bail out all of those hard workers, it does provide much-needed financial help to them.”

CARES 2.0 and NOAA Fisheries have established that to be eligible, participants:

  • Must be a “Fishery Participant” – This includes persons, fishing communities, aquaculture businesses, processors, or other fisheries-related businesses. (NOTE: Gear and vessel suppliers, repair facilities, retailers, restaurants, and bait and tackle operations are not viewed as fisheries-related businesses. In addition, freshwater fisheries, including wild crawfish, are ineligible.)
  • Must have incurred economic revenue losses greater than 35 % as compared to the prior 5-year average revenue. (NOTE: New businesses and entrants in 2020 with no prior revenue history are ineligible.)
  • Must reside in the state that is providing funding.

The qualifying criteria are intended to include individuals directly affected by COVID-19 and not those that have either exited or entered the fishery prior to or after COVID-19, while also taking into consideration the impacts of the 2019 flood disaster.

Individuals who applied for the first round of CARES Act payments will be required to apply again but will not need to submit 2015-2019 tax information or the certified fishermen’s form if those documents were submitted and accepted during the first round.

Payments will be issued following the close of the application period. The amount of each payment will be determined by the number of eligible applications received.

To submit an application, CLICK HERE.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. LDWF receives no state general funding and depends on license sales as a major funding source. Help us protect your hunting and fishing heritage while preserving habitat, wildlife, and aquatic resources by purchasing your license at www.wlf.la.gov.

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