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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.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) is a spending measure signed into law in late December 2020. In this law, $255 million was allocated for continued economic assistance to states and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

Eligibility requirements for the CAA do not differ from the CARES Act program. 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% in 2020 compared to the average of the the previous five (5) years.

If you live in a state that did not receive CARES Act funding (i.e., a non-coastal state excluding those that border a Great Lake), you may apply with Florida.

Yes, qualifying for and receiving financial relief through the CARES Act relief program does not disqualify someone for the CAA relief program.

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 CAA 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 in 2020 compared to the average of the previous five (5) years will not qualify to receive financial relief.

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. 

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.
  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 Sept. 11, 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.

All submission deadlines have passed, and FWC is no longer accepting applications.

The CARES Act budget was $25,365,857. The CAA budget was $19,678,229.

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.

All relief payments have been mailed. If you have not received a relief check in the mail, please email with your name and current mailing address.

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