The state Division of Marine Fisheries announced that it has distributed more than $7.6 million in federal financial relief to eligible members of fishing industries that sustained income losses or damages from 2018’s Hurricane Florence.
The state said it had received about $7.7 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assist in the economic recovery of losses and damages caused by Hurricane Florence through direct payments to qualified participants.
The NOAA money was distributed Friday to 103 stakeholders deemed eligible for relief. Of those 103, there were 68 seafood dealers and processors who were awarded a total of $6.55 million, 26 for-hire fishing operations awarded a total of $454,659, four bait and tackle shops were awarded a total of $267,008, and five ocean fishing piers were awarded $349,093. Just shy of $93,000 was used to administer the relief program.
Officials said the amounts compensated for 100% of approved losses of for-hire operations and bait and tackle shops, 52.43% of approved losses of seafood dealers and processors, and 33.93% of approved losses of ocean fishing piers.
Financial payouts were based on the loss of revenue in the months of September, October, and November of 2018 relative to the previous three-year revenue average during the same time period, along with damages caused by Hurricane Florence, division officials said. Applicants were required to provide an affidavit, a North Carolina Substitute W-9, and supporting materials that documented revenue loss and property damage, according to the announcement.
Commercial fishermen and aquaculture operations were compensated by the State Funded Hurricane Florence Relief Program in 2019 and therefore were not eligible to apply for this program unless they were also a member of an eligible stakeholder group, officials said.