The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to provide $300 million in economic assistance to states, Tribes, and territories for coastal and marine fishery participants that were negatively impacted due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The U.S. Virgin Islands CARES Act Fisheries Financial Assistance Program (“Program”) received $3,598,765.14 for direct payout from this funding through the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR). The affected stakeholder categories approved by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the Program are commercial fishers, wholesale dealers, aquaculture operators, and charter/for-hire fishing operators.
Funding will be disbursed in two tranches, referred to as CARES 1.0 and CARES 2.0. NOAA Fisheries’ guidance requires applicants to demonstrate a sustained reduction in revenue greater than thirty-five percent (35%) due to COVID-19 in the time frame indicated below for each tranche.
At least 28 consecutive days between March 10 and July 1, 2020, as compared to the average revenue for that same period of March 10 – July 1 for the five preceding years of 2015-2019*.
At least 28 consecutive days between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, as compared to the average revenue for that same period of July 1 – December 31 for the five preceding years of 2015-2019*.
*If an applicant’s revenue was affected in 2017 due to the effects of the 2017 Hurricane Irma/Maria fishery disaster declared in February 2018, applicants may use 2014 as an alternative year to calculate a five-year average.
Each tranche – CARES 1.0 and CARES 2.0 – has separate applications. The time period to measure revenue loss differentiates the applications. You must submit an application with the required documents for each Program.
If you feel that your annual 2020 earnings may exceed your previous annual five-year average, you will need to consider whether or not you should apply for assistance from the Program. One of the Program’s objectives is to put participants in the same position financially as they would have been had COVID-19 not occurred. Participants will not be allowed to retain any fisheries relief monies that advance their annual (January 1 to December 31) 2020 earnings beyond their previous annual (January 1 to December 31) five-year average. Participants may be required to pay back some or all of the relief monies that exceed their annual (January 1 to December 31) five-year average earnings from 2015-2019.
Businesses that have been in operation for less than five (5) years are still eligible; however, they must have been in business for at least one (1) year between 2018 and 2019.
You must be a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 15, 2020 as determined by documentation (government ID, utility bills, business licenses) and 18 years or older in order to be eligible for relief. Non-residents may apply if they are a resident of a state or Territory that did not receive CARES Act funding and you are an active participant in a U.S. Virgin Islands fishery sector as determined by the Division of Fish and Wildlife commercial fishing permit database of fishers and helpers, wholesale dealer permit, aquaculture propagation, or for-hire recreational permits and/or business licenses filed with other appropriate Government of the Virgin Islands departments including Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
If you believe you qualify for this Program and would like to participate, you will be required to complete the following forms:
All supporting documentation showing proof of identity and revenue loss as described on the application should be available to upload to the form. Click here to review checklist of required supporting documentation.
Prior to working on the application, every applicant should read the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Cares Act 1.0 spend plan, and application instructions closely. All applicants face consequences for providing false information or filling out the application incorrectly, even if unintentionally.
If you have any questions about the Program, you may send an email to , or call the staff at:
For technical assistance make an appointment with with SBDC:
All applicants face consequences for providing false information or filling out the application incorrectly, even if unintentionally.