After over a month of waiting, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has publicized how it will be allocating $300 million (€275 million) in aid for fishing, aquaculture and processing businesses that have incurred direct or indirect economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
The largest amounts will be going to Alaska and Washington state, with each receiving $50 million (€46.2 million).
Massachusetts followed with an allocation of around $28 million (€25.9 million), and Florida with an allocation of around $24 million (€22.2 million). Maine will be receiving a little over $20 million (€18.5 million), according to NOAA.
The funds come through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was approved by the US Congress in late March.
Before details around the funding were made public, lawmakers and trade groups voiced issues with NOAA's "lack of transparency" around the planning and distribution process.
“We are going to rely primarily on our partners at the interstate marine fishery commissions during the award process because they have a demonstrated track record of disbursing funds provided to them quickly and effectively,” said Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.
The commissions then will work with each state, tribe, and territory to develop spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance, the agency said.
Once a spend plan has been approved by NOAA, the agency anticipates commissions will review applications and process payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of the states and territories. The states will also have the option to process payments themselves.