TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida will receive $23.6 million of CARES Act funding to aid the state's commercial fishing and aquaculture industries.
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in federal assistance for fisheries provided by the CARES Act stimulus package, of which Florida will receive 7.86 percent.
These funds will be available for coastal and marine fishery participants negatively affected by COVID–19.
Ranked among the top U.S. states for fresh seafood production with over 400 commercial aquaculture operations, Florida's commercial fishing operations supply 84 percent of the nation's grouper, pompano, mullet, stone crab, pink shrimp, spiny lobster, and Spanish Mackerel.
Both the commercial fishing and seafood products industries in Florida provide more than 13,000 jobs and have added-value contributions of over $730 million.
"Florida aquaculture producers have been heavily impacted by COVID-19," said Portia Sapp, the director of Aquaculture for FDACS. "The aquaculture industry is incredibly thankful to federal leaders for including the industry in the CARES stimulus package and allocating much-needed relief alongside Florida's commercial fishing industry. This funding is critical to help the industry continue to provide fresh, domestic seafood products to consumers during this difficult time and into the future."
NOAA Fisheries will use this allocation to disburse funds that address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.