Financial assistance applications accepted starting Monday for fishermen, LDWF says

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LDWF SOURCE: Copyright LDWF

BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be accepting applications soon for $14.6 million in financial assistance available to Louisiana fishermen and others in the industry who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications open at 8 a.m. Monday, and must be submitted online.

To access the application, visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cares-act-assistance.

The deadline to submit applications is 11:59 p.m. Oct. 26.

The funds are part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The funds will be distributed as direct aid payments by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to those applicants who qualify. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently approved the department’s spending plan for the federal funding dedicated to the state’s fishing industry.

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

  • Must be a “Fishery Participant” – This includes tribes, 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 who have either entered or exited the fishery prior to or after COVID-19, while also taking into consideration the impacts of the 2019 flood disaster.

Payments will be issued in a two-phase process that will include an initial minimum payment followed by a second payment, the amount of which will be determined by the funds remaining after all applications have been processed. LDWF will withhold a percentage of funding from each sector to ensure funding is available for every eligible applicant.

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