VMRC to administer CARES Act relief funds for watermen coming from NOAA

Megan Schiffres

by Megan Schiffres

Watermen in the Commonwealth will soon have the opportunity to apply for a financial relief program intended to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic on the fishery industry. The amount of relief that each watermen receives, which will to be distributed in the form of direct payments, is not expected to be very much, says the agency.

“Since there was so little funding and such great economic damage, the idea of trying to make sure we make up loss for some people was not an option. We just did not have enough money,” said Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) deputy commissioner Ellen Bolen.

On Tuesday, September 29, members of the VMRC were updated on the fisheries relief program which was officially approved by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Association (NOAA).

The funding for this program comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act, which allocated $300 million to economic relief for fisheries and watermen nationwide. Virginia received $4.484 million from that funding source. According to Bolen, the economic impact of the virus pandemic on the Commonwealth’s fishing industry far exceeds the relief it received.

“The estimated economic loss that we looked at in May was between…

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