Cares Act Funding Update from Jim Dexter

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division has been recently allocated over $6 million from the Federal Government, through the National Oceanographic and Air Administration (NOAA) to provide Covid relief grants to eligible charter captains, commercial fishers, fish wholesalers and processors, private aquaculture and Great Lakes bait catchers. * The relief program covers financial losses between March 24, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

Eligible recipients must be able to show a 35% loss in gross revenue for a minimum of 4 continuous weeks during that period, as compared to the average revenue of the same period from 2015-2019.

Grants that are awarded cannot make an applicant more than whole for the reporting period. That means an applicant couldn’t have supplemented their income in some way over and above their annual income in some way.

The staff has been working since February 2021 with NOAA to develop our grant program. †Our grant program has now been approved and we are preparing to execute it beginning in December.

Every licensed captain should expect to receive a certified letter in the mail from DNR Fisheries in December. The letter will explain the program in its entirety and include an application and certification form and a Frequently Asked Questions list.

Some additional details:

* A captain in business for as little as 2 years (between 2017 and 2019) would qualify.
* Must be 18 years or older and a Michigan Resident
* Applicants will be able to choose relief for the period March 24, 2020-December 31, 2020 and/or all of 2021.
* Application period will close January 31, 2022
* DNR reviews and notifies applicants in February
* March is reserved for any appeals of denial
* Direct payments to successful applicants start in April. †Checks are cut from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and recipients will also receive a 1099 form at the end of the year.
* Applicants must attest that they have documentation qualifying them for the program and retain that documentation for three years as audits should be expected.

Jim Dexter
DNR Fisheries Chief
Constitution Hall
525 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48933 →Read more