Disaster Relief Funds for Fisheries-Related Businesses

Updated May 19, 2020

​​​​The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding. The funding is provided by Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also called the CARES Act, to states, Tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. Maryland has been allocated $4,125,118.


The Department of Natural Resources' Fishing and Boating Services will be working through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to draft a required disaster relief spending plan to be submitted to NOAA Fisheries. Once a plan is approved, the department will work with NOAA Fisheries, ASMFC, and the seafood industry to get the funding out as soon as possible.


This web page will be updated as needed to help guide impacted businesses through the application and dispersal process. PLEASE CHECK BACK REGULARLY FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Questions and answers about the funding to-date:

How will Maryland receive its allocation of funds?  
NOAA Fisheries will pass the funds to Maryland through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission after a spending plan is submitted by the state and approved by NOAA Fisheries.

What businesses are eligible?  
Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, aquaculture businesses, and seafood wholesalers and processors whose residence is in Maryland.

Does every eligible business qualify for funding?
No. Only businesses that suffered a 35% loss caused by COVID-19 relative to previous years will qualify for these funds.

What businesses are NOT eligible?  
Seafood retail markets, restaurants, and boat yards are all currently ineligible.  Any commercial fishing businesses or operations involving freshwater species are also ineligible.  

When can businesses apply?  
After NOAA Fisheries approves the Maryland spending plan, this site will be updated with full application instructions and eligibility criteria. Currently, Maryland is not yet accepting applications.

What is a spending plan?
A spending plan explains to NOAA how the funds will be distributed and the criteria that will be used to qualify each applicant for the funds. NOAA is requesting all spending plans be submitted to their agency by August 2020.

What can I do until I can apply?
Check this website for updates.

For additional questions, please email Maryland DNR at

For additional CARES Act information, visit: