VIRGINIA (WAVY) — The coronavirus pandemic has affected many local businesses and being a coastal state, it is no surprise that Virginia’s seafood industry has been hit hard.
The seafood markets and restaurants are made up of largely rural, family-owned operations. To provide some financial relief, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced on Friday that $4,520,475 in federal funding will go to support the coastal and marine fishery participants who have been affected by the crisis.
The funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and was made possible by the federal funding Section 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.
This section allows the Secretary of Commerce to provide $300 million to assist fisheries affected by COVID-19. The assistance is geared to help with losses and sustainability-related impacts.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every sector of our economy including fisheries and our seafood industry, which is already particularly susceptible to the forces of nature that determine when produce is ready for harvest,” said the Senators. “We’re glad to know that these funds will help provide some needed relief to help Virginia’s seafood industry withstand this crisis.”
According to the statement released, fishery participants eligible for funding will be able to work with state marine fisheries management agencies, territories, or tribes to apply for these funds.
Eligibility includes tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter and for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses.
Warner and Kaine are long-term advocates of Virginia’s seafood industry. Recently, the two senators sent a letter to the Senate requesting federal assistance for fishermen and seafood processors who have been affected by the virus. Additionally, in February, the Senators urged the Department of Homeland Security to release visas needed to support local seafood businesses in Virginia.
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