Blue Economy Related Resources: $300 million in federal stimulus for fisheries and aquaculture

The federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains a $300 million earmark “authorized to provide assistance to Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants affected by the novel coronavirus.”  

“Tribes, persons, fishing communities, aquaculture businesses not otherwise eligible for assistance under  part 1416 of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations  for losses related to COVID–19, processors, or other fishery-related businesses, who have incurred, as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus pandemic — economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior 5-year average revenue.” See  Section 12005 of the CARES Act  for more information. 

Funds may be awarded on a rolling basis “and within a fishing season to ensure rapid delivery of funds,” which will remain available until Sept. 30, 2021. The agency that will oversee applications for relief funds under the Commerce Department is to be determined. Stay tuned for more details for this program. 

 NOAA Fisheries COVID-19 Strategy Team

NOAA recently put together a team of experts from across the agency to collect and analyze COVID-19-related impacts on the U.S. commercial seafood industry, including wild harvest and aquaculture. NOAA is interested in learning about the virus’ impacts on their employees, their business, the businesses they support, and the broader seafood supply chain. 

 “We are also looking at impacts on the recreational, subsistence, non-commercial, and tribal fishing industries. With this effort, we are interested in assessing immediate and long-term needs to secure and enhance the resilience of the U.S. seafood and fisheries industries. We will continue to work with the Administration and Congress on this important, unprecedented COVID-19-driven effort.” 

Stakeholders interested in sharing information on the effects of COVID-19 to their businesses can submit that information to  via email  or visit the  NOAA Coronavirus Updates page  for more information. 

***The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center has advisors available to assist businesses with applications to the federal Small Business Administration disaster loans listed below. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This service is free of charge, online sessions can be scheduled by visiting this link.*** 

Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Massachusetts small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications on the SBA Website. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Also visit the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans Fact Sheet for additional information. 

SBA Express Bridge Loan Program

The Express Bridge Loan Program is available to businesses that have an existing business relationship with an SBA-approved lender; speak to your lender about accessing this option while you await a decision on long-term financing. 

 SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance  

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance  is a Loan Advance of an amount up to $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses. 

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 0.5% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months. 

SBA Debt Relief 

The SBA is also offering Debt Relief to small businesses. Under this relief, the SBA will pay the principal and interest for six months beginning March 27th, 2020 for qualifying new and current holders of 7(a) loans. 

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) 

EXIM has set up a several resources to assist businesses during COVID-19: 

  Bridge Financing Program 
  Pre-Delivery / Pre-Export Financing Program 
  Supply Chain Financing Guarantee Program 
  Working Capital Guarantee Program 


Support for Manufacturing in CARES ACT 

$50,000,000 ($50M) is provided for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers recover by finding value within the supply chain and expanding markets. [Grantee(s): MEPs; Allocation: formula; MA estimate: $1,096,000] 

Economic adjustment assistance [EDA] in CARES ACT  

$1,500,000,000 ($1.5B) is provided for the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support community revitalization after the pandemic. EDA assistance can be used to help rebuild impacted industries such as tourism or manufacturing supply chains, capitalize local funds to provide low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, and support other locally-identified priorities for economic recovery. [Grantee(s): State, city, economic development district, nonprofit, higher education institution; Allocation: discretionary] 



Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development Resources

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development offers resources for businesses related to employee benefits and has a new resource page.

Programs include:

The WorkShare program, a tool to help employers avoid layoffs during a downturn.
The Rapid Response program, which works closely with companies to avert layoffs and keep a skilled workforce engaged in the existing regional economy or industry
View information regarding unemployment resources.


Administrative Tax Relief Measures

On Wednesday, March 18, the Baker-Polito Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.

MA COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation Program

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is committed to delivering the resources necessary to confront COVID-19 and appreciates the donation and sale of products that will be crucial to this effort. More information on the PPE Procurement and Donation Program.

SouthCoast Health PPE Donation

The Southcoast Health System is anticipating an even greater need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators, surgical masks and face shields, in order to protect physicians and nurses on the front lines of care. Click here if you or your organization have a supply of any of these PPE items and can donate.