New Jersey will commit $2.1 million in grant funding toward helping fishing-related businesses recover from Superstorm Sandy, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday.
Owners of bait-and-tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fisherman, for-hire party and charter boat operators, marinas and those involved in shellfishing 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 department said in a statement.
“Superstorm Sandy dealt a severe blow to all sectors of the state’s commercial and recreational fishing industries,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in the statement. “”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.”
The grants, while administered by the state, are being provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of a federal fishery disaster declaration for states impacted by Sandy.
To be eligible, business owners must document a minimum of $5,000 in losses as the result of Sandy. Examples of losses eligible for reimbursement, the state said, 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 Oct. 1 until Oct. 31, from individuals and 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 application is available online at: www.njfishandwildlife.com/fisheriesdisasteraid.htm
For business owners who need help, grant administrators can be reached at the following numbers: 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.