It’s been nearly three years now since Superstorm Sandy, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just made $3.6 million in grants available to businesses in New York’s fishing industry that were impacted by the storm, which struck just days before the opening of the Peconic Bay scallop season.
In addition to a brief closing of East End waters to fishing after the storm, many water-dependent businesses were also damaged by the storm tide and public perception about the condition of local waters kept many would-be consumers of East End shellfish and recreational fishermen away.
The grants will reimburse sectors of the fishing industry that suffered a loss of revenue due to the storm, including bait and tackle shops, for-hire fishing boat operators, marinas, commercial harvesters, commercial seafood dealers, shippers or processors and aquaculture facilities.
“The regions affected by Superstorm Sandy are home to significant commercial and recreation fishing industries that are critical to New York’s economy,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo when the program was unveiled late last week. “With another round of these common-sense grants, we are furthering our efforts to support this vital industry and help it fully recover.”
According to State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, the Department of Environmental Conservation, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, will administer the Superstorm Sandy Fishery Disaster Relief Program, which is open to businesses in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
The DEC will accept applications through December 15. The owners of fishing businesses in eligible counties must complete an application and provide documentation of more than $5,000 in revenue or gross income loss as a result of Superstorm Sandy. They must also have at least $15,000 in annual earnings in one of the eligible fishery sectors.
Applicants can apply online at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/.
Several public information meetings will be held in Long Island, New York City and the
lower Hudson Valley.
More information on the meetings to be scheduled in the coming weeks and more information about the program is available on the DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/102594.html.