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CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is to mitigate revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $300 million was allocated to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from Congress for distribution to coastal states whose marine fisheries have been impacted.

Eligible fishery participants include Florida residents who hold a Florida-state saltwater products license (SPL), saltwater wholesale dealer license (WD), and/or charter license, as well as Florida Aquaculture Certificate of Registration holders who produce bivalve shellfish and/or live rock on state submerged land leases or operate upland, bivalve shellfish and/or live rock support facilities, and can document a revenue loss greater than 35% for the period of January through May of 2020 compared to the average of the same period in the previous five (5) years.

If you live in a state that did not receive CARES Act funding (i.e., a non-coastal state), you may apply with Florida if you hold at least one of the above licenses.

Entities not eligible include: Florida residents who exclusively have out-of-state fishery licenses, out-of-state license holders who reside in a state that received CARES Act funding (you must apply in your state of residency), bait and tackle store operators, seafood restaurants, or vessel repair businesses. Additionally, those who do not show a greater than 35% revenue loss due to COVID-19 for the period of January through May of 2020 compared to the average of the same period in the previous five (5) years are not eligible.

Please provide proof of residency with your application. Acceptable proofs include: Florida Driver License or ID Card, Florida Military Orders, Current Florida voter registration information card, Declaration of domicile, and Florida homestead exemption. If you live in a non-coastal state, please include proof of residency in a non-coastal state.

Applications have been mailed to all applicants who have a valid fishery license in 2020, and had a valid fishery license at least one year between 2015-2019. You may also download a blank application from the FWC CARES Act website. To be considered for compensation, you must:

  1. Verify that the fishery-related data on the Applicant Data Page are correct, and complete the remainder of the document. If you downloaded a blank application, please add all applicable fishery-related revenue.
  2. Complete the Self-Certification and Assurances document.
  3. Provide a copy of proof of Florida Residency. If you live in a non-coastal state, please include proof of residency in a non-coastal state.
  4. Submit the documents to FWC – Division of Marine Fishers Management, either by mail (mailing address below) or email to, by Jan. 30, 2021. If mailing the application, FWC suggests mailing the application certified with a tracking number to ensure delivery, and retaining a copy of the application for your records.


Mailing Address:

Division of Marine Fisheries Management

Attn: CARES Act

1875 Orange Ave. East

Tallahassee, FL 32311

No documentation should be submitted with the application packet. Participants must attest to having documentation/records (e.g. Federal tax returns) to support the losses recorded on their application. Further, participants agree to maintain these records for a period of no less than three (3) years and that these records will be provided to state or Federal auditors if requested.

The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 30, 2021. Applications postmarked or received electronically after the Jan. 30, 2021 deadline will not be accepted.

Florida was allocated $23,447,814 for COVID-19 relief for the state’s commercial fishers, wholesalers, charters, and aquaculturists.

Payments will be pro-rated based on the total amount of losses recorded by all qualified applicants.

Payments will be processed and mailed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Payments will be sent by check via USPS mail. Checks will be mailed to the corresponding mailing address on file with the applicant.

Payments are expected to be processed and mailed in mid-February. FWC will provide updates on the status of the payments on our CARES Act website.

Email or call the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554.