US harvesters press NOAA for CARES Act details, distribution of $300m

"The Hand of NOAA," a sculpture in front of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Photo by Jason Huffman.

It’s been more than three weeks since the US Congress passed and president Donald Trump signed the third COVID-19 related stimulus bill, providing $300 million in relief for the seafood industry, and at least one group of wild catch harvesters is tired of waiting for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to publish its instructions on how the funds will be distributed.

“We call upon the Department of Commerce and NOAA to clearly articulate their distribution process for the $300 million in fisheries assistance funds to ensure it is public and transparent,” say Leigh Habegger and Robert Dooley, the executive director and president respectively of the Seafood Harvesters of America (SHA), in a two-page letter sent Thursday to Wilbur Ross, the secretary of Commerce.

“We also request the funds be expeditiously disbursed to the eligible recipients once this process is developed,” the letter continues.

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