Fishermen have until Friday to apply for COVID relief

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Guam fishers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have until tomorrow, July 10, to apply for federal assistance. 

Earlier this week, the Guam Department of Agriculture announced that $1 million in relief funds is available to fishermen on Guam under the CARES Act. 

Guam Department of Agriculture Director Chelsa Muna-Brecht says that this funding will be made available to both commercial and sustenance fishers. 

The agency is currently determining how much relief will be given to each fisher. 

“We want to make sure that those who have commercial losses receive something that would help their businesses and help them survive during this challenging time,” she said. 

Muna-Brecht said that one of the requirements is that commercial entities have to show that they have lost 35 percent or more of their revenue from January to June 2020 and that the department’s biologists are contacting fishers to compile their documents to verify their claims. 

As of yesterday, 527 fishers have applied for assistance. Muna-Brecht says she was not sure how many fishers there are on the island as this is the first time the data is being collected, but estimated that 30 to 50 more still need to apply. 

There is no set date for when the payments will be distributed, but she says that it may take two to three weeks after their applications are processed. 

Muna-Brecht also stressed the importance that claimants should be honest when applying. 

“We hope that all the fishers come in and register. We do want to emphasize this is a federally funded program, so the commission is requiring that each applicant sign a sworn affidavit attesting to the facts and the statements they’re making. They have stated that the funds will be audited by the Office of the Inspector General, so we need to make sure that everyone is providing accurate information on their applications for the amount they’re claiming,” she said. 

The deadline to register is tomorrow, Friday, July 10. 

The first step in the process is for fishers to fill out this registration form, sign it, and email the form to fisheries@doag.guam.gov. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 735-0294.

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