Fishermen in California, Massachusetts, Oregon and South Carolina will be able to begin applying within days for covid-19 assistance funding now that state spending plans have been approved by NMFS, according to the agency.

Those states “have been approved and will be able to begin their application process for fishery participants in the coming days,” according to an Aug. 4 update to NMFS’ information page on CARES Act funding.

“We expect several more state spend plans to be submitted and approved in the coming weeks. We appreciate the work each state, territory, Tribe and interstate marine fisheries commission is devoting to the development of these comprehensive plans that will get these much-needed funds into the hands of eligible applicants.”

California is in line for $18 million, Massachusetts’ allocation is $28 million, Oregon’s $15.9 million and $1.5 million for South Carolina.

The Department of Commerce announced on May 7 allocations totaling $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

At the time NMFS administrator Chris Oliver promised: “We are going to rely primarily on our partners at the interstate marine fishery commissions during the award process because they have a demonstrated track record of disbursing funds provided to them quickly and effectively.”

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Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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