Commissioner Bob Martin today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection is making more than $2 million in grants available to certain fishing-related businesses that were affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Owners of bait-and-tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fisherman, for-hire party and charter boat operators, marinas and those involved in shell-fishing and aquaculture may apply to the DEP for grants of up to $10,000 each to help offset some of the costs of the storm on their operations.
The funds are being provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of a federal fishery disaster declaration for states impacted by Sandy.
"Superstorm Sandy dealt a severe blow to all sectors of the state's commercial and recreational fishing industries," said Commissioner Martin. "We have worked closely with both groups to develop an online application system and make the process as easy as possible for them. The program will focus on helping small businesses, which are the backbone of our state's fishing industry."
New Jersey's commercial fishing industry is one of the largest on the East Coast, landing roughly 175 million pounds of seafood and generating over $1.1 billion in economic activity in 2012. The economic impact of recreational fishing also supports approximately 10,000 jobs and $1.74 billion in annual sales.
Applicants must document a minimum of $5,000 in losses as the result of Sandy. Examples of losses eligible for reimbursement include lost or damaged fishing gear; lost, damaged or ruined product; replacement and/or repair of other equipment; replacement and repair of infrastructure; and revenue lost in the months immediately after Sandy hit.
Grants will be made for losses for which there remains an unmet need for repair or replacement. Activities already undertaken out-of-pocket as part of a business' or individual's recovery effort may also be eligible.
Expression of Interest pre-applications are being accepted beginning October 1 until October 31, from individuals and/or businesses in six fishing-related sectors: bait and tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fishermen, for-hire (party and charter) operations, marinas and shellfish/aquaculture.
The Expression of Interest pre-application is only available on-line and can be accessed beginning Oct. 1 from the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Fishery Disaster webpage at www.njfishandwildlife.com/fisheriesdisasteraid.htm.
No applications will be accepted after Oct. 31and the Expression of Interest pre-application must be completed to be considered for any direct assistance.
Once an Expression of Interest pre-application is submitted, a team of independent grant administrators will determine an applicant's eligibility. If eligibility is determined, a separate e-mail will be sent to the applicant requesting additional materials/documentation in order to complete a full application.
The following is a list of numbers for grant administrators who can help you: Commercial Fishermen and Shellfish/Aquaculture, 609-292-1057; Commercial Fishermen and Commercial Dealers, 609-292-1055; Bait and Tackle and Marinas, 609-292-9942; Bait and Tackle and For-Hire, 609-984-0232.
All grant administrators may also be reached by email at: FisheriesDisasterAid@dep.nj.gov