‘Checks for Fisheries Assistance Part 2 have not been issued yet’

Posted on Oct 11 2022

The Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse has clarified that the checks related to the CARES Act Fishermen Relief Assistance Program Part 2 have not been released yet.

In a statement issued Friday by the administrator of the Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse, Epiphanio E. Cabrera Jr., he said the checks have not arrived yet from Portland, Oregon. The checks will be mailed by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission after all documents have been properly reviewed, funds obligated, and checks processed. They will then be sent out through the U.S. postal system.

The Office of the Governor and the Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse issued the statement to update those individuals and businesses that have applied for the CARES Act Fishermen Relief Assistance Program Part 2, especially as concerns were raised by the community regarding the release of checks.

“Over 2,400 applications were given out and a total of 1,825 applications were received. Only seven out of nine commercial fishing businesses will receive assistance amounting cumulatively to $29,819.93 and a total of 1,805 subsistence fishermen will receive a check for about $204.17 this time around. This figure is up 53% from last year’s total subsistence fishermen pool. The total allocated to the CNMI was $411,002, which is about $600,000 less than last year’s funding availability. About $8.52 will be returned to the PSMFC due to overage,” Cabrera added.

Cabrera inquired about the reduced funding from its federal counterparts and the response was that it was that, “due to the lack of tax documents stemming from commercial fishermen, federal officials were not able to quantify a good sample size, representative of actual assistance needed.”

“I believe that if we had all the tax records complete from every commercial fishing establishment, it would have demonstrated that we have an active commercial fishing population, and that we should receive more than a million dollars each time in relief assistance funding,” Cabrera reported.

“I want to thank the public for their patience as this fisheries assistance is still being processed by PSMFC, and notification will be made once the checks are on their way. I also want to recognize and thank DLNR and DFW for their collaboration with OGM-SC in putting together the Fisheries Relief Spend Plan Round 2, and OGM-SC for their work in coordinating the handling and review of submitted documents, all to ensure that assistance is provided for our local fishing community,” said Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres.

Commercial applicant awards are based on figures provided by the business that reflected actual loss. Award disbursements were based on a formula put together by the CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife and approved by the Pacific State Marine Fisheries Commission. The CNMI received an appropriation of $411,002 to the program, of which $368,535.37 will be distributed among subsistence fishermen and $29,819.93 to commercial applicants. The remaining funds went to administrative fees on federal, state, and commission levels.

For more information, contact (670) 664-9994/5.”

All concerns and inquiries regarding anticipated awards should be addressed to the following:

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
205 SE Spokane St, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97202-6487. (PR)

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