From Our Executive Director- Glenn Skinner
Setting the record straight
As Executive Director of the North Carolina Fisheries Association I feel it’s necessary to set the record straight on an issue that I have been dealing with all week.
The NCFA has NOT been given authority by any State Agency to choose who can or cannot use public boat ramps in NC.
What we have been given is a work authorization letter drafted by Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler and sent to commodity groups across the State to be distributed to essential workers in the agriculture and fishing industries. This letter is to serve as proof that the holder is an essential worker and should be allowed to travel freely for work purposes in the event that the State enforces the shelter in place order.
When we heard that some towns and counties were closing boat ramps and that the WRC may have to do the same, we reached out to the Marine Patrol, Wildlife and local law enforcement to request that they accept the work authorization letters as a “pass ” for essential workers who require access to the water.
They agreed that when placed on the dash of a vehicle, the letters would serve as proof that the owner of that vehicle had a right to use boat ramps that might otherwise be closed to the public. This does not mean folks without a work authorization letter cannot use boat ramps; it’s simply a quick way for officers to identify essential workers and their vehicles.
It is my understanding that a couple of people including MFC Chairman Rob Bizzel have raised quite a fuss this week about the proactive approach the NCFA has taken to assure fishermen can continue to work if public boating accesses are closed. I hope my explanation eases their concerns and allows us all to move on to more pressing issues.
The NCFA will continue to distribute work authorization letters to commercial and for-hire fishermen who need one with the understanding that no good deed goes unpunished!
Shellfish License Purchases after Executive Order No. 121
It has been brought to our attention that a lot of people have been buying a shellfish license from the Wilmington NCDMF Office in order to access closed boat ramps in New Hanover County. Many of these individuals have already called requesting work authorization letters from the NCFA immediately after purchasing a license.
While we understand folks desire to get out on the water, the purpose of these letters is to allow essential workers to work and not circumvent safety measures implemented by towns, counties or the State.
In an attempt to be part of the solution rather than the problem the NCFA will not issue work authorization letters through the NC Department of Agriculture to anyone who cannot show a fishing history prior to the Governors shelter in place order (Executive Order No. 121) dated March 27, 2020 which went into effect March 30, 2020 at 5 pm.
This does not mean you cannot use boat ramps; it will be up to law enforcement to decide if simply holding a shellfish license designates an individual as an essential worker.
You must provide commercial/for-hire fishing history prior to the above-mentioned date to be eligible to receive a work authorization letter. Email history and request to Aundrea@ncfish.org
Glenn Skinner, Executive Director-NCFA
The Working Group, ECONOMIC SUPPORT, one of 4 groups under the House Select Committee on Covid-19, met again this week for about 2+ hours and heard presentations from:
General Assembly staff from Legislative Analysis & Fiscal Research;
Lockhart Taylor, Asst. Secretary, Dept. of Employment Security;
Anthony Edwards, Asst. Secretary, Dept. of Revenue, Tax Administration;
Alan Woodard, Asst. Secretary, Dept. of Revenue, Tax Enforcement;
Gregg Thompson, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Ray Starling, NC Chamber of Commerce.
Of particular interest was the presentation made by Lockhart Taylor regarding support for federal unemployment assistance for the self-employed and independent contractors. Typically, they do not qualify but do so under the recently passed federal CARES Act. Mr. Taylor stated they anticipate the system will be ready to accept claims for this assistance around April 25, 2020.
Another interesting statement was made by Ray Starling from the Chamber as he cited the results of a survey done by the US Chamber of Commerce and MetLife: 24% of small business surveyed have temporarily shut down. Of the 76% remaining, an astounding 40% say it’s likely they will also shut down temporarily in the next two weeks!
The ECONOMIC SUPPORT working group is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, April 14th at 10:00am.
Aquaculture Farm Financial Management During the Pandemic Webinar
April 3, 2020
Economic Assistance Programs
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Applications can be submitted starting today.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
- For a top-line overview of the program https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20–%20Overview.pdf
- If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20Lender%20Information%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
- If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–Fact-Sheet.pdf
- Final Borrower Application Form *NEW* https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Application-3-30-2020-v3.pdf
- Lender Electronic Data Form *NEW* https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP-Lender-Application-Form-Fillable.pdf
- Paycheck Protection Program – Interim Final Rule *NEW* https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–IFRN%20FINAL.pdf
- To find a qualified lender, click here.
Paycheck Protection Program Resources
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program website https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp
- Department of the Treasury CARES Act website https://home.treasury.gov/cares
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering all states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options for coronavirus relief loan options.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
- The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- Click here to apply. https://covid19relief.sba.gov/%23/
- For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.
This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Apply for the Loan Advance here.
Other Coronavirus Assistance
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are currently eligible to apply for a loan advance of up to $10,000.
The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
- Up to $25,000
- Fast turnaround
- Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan
The SBA provides a debt relief to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.
Farm and Business Financial Analysis
SRAC 4400: Introduction to Financial Management of Aquaculture Businesses click here.
SRAC 4401: Assessing the Financial Position of an Aquaculture Business: Using Balance Sheets click here. https://covid19relief.sba.gov/
SRAC 4402: Determining the Profitability of an Aquaculture Business: Using Income Statements and Enterprise Budgets click here.
SRAC 4403: Evaluating the Liquidity/Cash Position of an Aquaculture Business: Using Cash Flow Statements click here.
Please note federal websites are being updated daily to reflect loan program changes to improve access or new programs authorized by the CARES Act. If a link no longer functions on these pages, go to the agency website and look for a coronavirus economic assistance program link. Here’s a link to the page providing updated information on applying for Unemployment Insurance.
COVID-19 Resources for Fisheries and Aquaculture
7 April 2020
Financial Relief Programs
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources (SBA) https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan- resources
SBA Informational PowerPoint on COVID-19 Assistance https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-iP5QJGi0Zmjn8ZncSejYhWcD9atjA5f/view
National Restaurant Association Restaurant Employee Relief Fund https://rerf.us/
Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Regional Food System Partnerships Program
Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
How to Apply
A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found here.
Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) INFORMATION SHEET: BORROWERS
Treasure Department COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Homepage.
- Q: Can PPP be used to pay 1099 contractors?
- Both: A company can pay their 1099 contractors with PPP funds, but that will not be considered part of the payroll costs that can be forgiven. Contractors can apply for PPP independently.
Linda Shaw, NMFS in Alaska shared a provision from the CARE Act which speaks to aid to the fishing sector.
‘Specifically, tribes, fishermen, fishing communities, aquaculture businesses, and other fishery-related businesses are eligible for assistance if they have incurred as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic any economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average; or any negative impacts to subsistence, cultural or ceremonial fisheries, according to the senator’s office. ‘
Webinar from Saving Seafood’s government relations on the federal relief package. About the 26-minute mark seems more specifically relevant.
Also, in addition to the Paycheck Protection Program, there is an Employee Retention Credit Program. Applicants might want to consider both options as benefits seem to vary based on qualifying information and one might prove more beneficial than the other depending on the situation.
Webinar Recordings on Funding:
US Farm Credit East
US Department of Labor:
UMass-Amherst SBA Training:
Physical Distance, but Social Support Networks
Networks to pay attention to for summaries of the most up to date information:
Local Catch (commercial fisheries)
Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust https://montereybayfisheriestrust.org/covid19-resources
Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance https://shareholdersalliance.org/coronavirus-response
National Sea Grant Law Center http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/covid19/index.html
U.S. Aquaculture Society (aquaculture) https://tinyurl.com/USASCovid-19
Consumers (Information to give to your buyers) Seafood Safety FAQs
National Fisheries Institute https://seafoodsafetycovid19.wordpress.com/
Food and Drug Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/noaa-fisheries-coronavirus-covid- 19-update
Fresh vs Frozen
Search for local farms
Preparing and Eating Seafood https://www.eatingwiththeecosystem.org/local-seafood-resources https://freshwaterfeasts.com/
Tips for Managing Risk and Uncertainty in your fishing Business –
Alaska Sea Grant
Fish Biz Project: General Management Tools – Alaska Sea Grant
Planning seafood Cold Storage
Changing your marketing plan in response to COVID-19
Pickup and Delivery Tool/App
Choosing an online selling platform comparison chart
Choosing an online selling platform webinar –
Farm to Institution Networks
Farm to Institution New England (FINE: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) Needs and surplus matchmaking tool https://www.farmtoinstitution.org/
Source your local food https://goforager.com/
Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission COVID-19 Resource Guide https://www.critfc.org/columbia-river-tribal-fisher-and-fishing-access-site- resident-covid-19-resource-guide/
Local Food Economy Impact Tools https://localfoodeconomics.com/#farm