Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that Alabama will receive $3.3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding to provide economic relief to qualifying applicants in the state’s seafood industry who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state will also receive an additional $8.6 million in federal fisheries disaster relief funds related to extreme freshwater flooding in 2019 that negatively impacted fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources worked with the seafood industry to calculate the damages and coordinated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the disaster relief funding, according to a news release from the governor's office.

“The Gulf and its fisheries are vital to Alabama’s economy by providing jobs for fishermen, processors, and others in the seafood industry,” said Ivey for the news release. “We are thankful to provide this much needed relief to those affected in our coastal communities.”

The relief funds will be used to address a range of impacts including those to commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, seafood processors, and the fishing ecosystem and environment.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is working with NOAA Fisheries to determine final eligibility guidelines for those seeking to receive relief funding, the governor's office says.

“Once we receive documentation regarding the guidelines, the state will develop a spending plan and submit it to NOAA for approval,” said Christopher M. Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner. “When approved, we will announce the application period and the requirements for eligibility to the public. I would like to thank Senator Richard Shelby for his work to provide the fisheries disaster funding for the seafood industry and for including the fisheries funding in the CARES Act.”

The eligibility requirements and application process will be finalized and implemented in the coming months.

In addition to these funds, other federal financial assistance programs are available to fisherman and other seafood industry related businesses.

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