CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

To Apply or Appeal, visit DMR's CARES Act Web Page Here

How much CARES Act money did Maine get for the commercial fishing, aquaculture, for-hire and seafood dealer sectors and how was it divided up?
Maine was allocated $20.1 million of the $300 million by NOAA Fisheries.  Funds for direct payments were apportioned amongst sectors consistent with the percentages that NOAA used when making its determination of the total revenue generated from these sectors in Maine.  The for-hire sector was grouped with the commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors.  Together, this group will receive 81.9% of the funds available for direct payments.  Dealers and processors will receive the remaining 18.1% of the funds available for direct payments.

What types of businesses are eligible for assistance?
For the purposes of carrying out the provisions in Section 12005 of the CARES Act, “fishery-related businesses” primarily include commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and dealers.  Businesses farther down the supply chain—including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers—are not considered “fishery-related businesses” for the purposes of this funding. 

Will I just get a check if I am eligible, or do I need to apply?
You must apply in order to receive a check.  Due to the requirements in the federal law, each recipient must self-certify certain pieces of information.  Applications received after the published due date will not be considered.

Can I get additional payments for every fishery or activity that I participate in?
You can apply in any sector in which you are eligible.  However, because the funds for commercial fishermen, aquaculturists and for-hire operators were grouped, applicants can only receive one payment from this grouping, regardless of how many fisheries or activities in which they participate. If you participate in one of those activities and you are also a seafood dealer and have experienced the required level of revenue loss, you can submit two applications, and receive two payments.

How do I know if I have suffered a greater than 35% loss in revenue?
DMR used records from its Landings Program to determine if participants in the commercial fishing sector experienced a greater than 35% loss in revenue, based on harvester and dealer reports.  Because DMR does not have complete revenue data for all the other sectors, those sectors may calculate their own revenue loss.  To do this calculation, you must compare your 2020 revenues to your average revenues for the previous five years (2015-2019).  Please use the following guidance to make this comparison:

  • Revenue is measured by gross revenue/sales, not adjusted revenue.
  • You may make the revenue comparison over a timeframe of your own selection, but you must use at least one full month in 2020. (For example, you could compare your revenues during March 2020 to your average revenues for March between 2015-2019.)
  • Your comparison cannot include projected losses, only losses you have already experienced. (For example, you cannot use losses that you anticipate you will experience in November or December.)
  • If you were in business in each year from 2015-2019, you must use all five years to calculate the average against which you are comparing your 2020 revenues.  
  • If you were not in business in each year from 2015-2019, you must use all of the years you were in business during that time frame to calculate the average against which you are comparing your 2020 revenues. 

I received other CARES Act Relief – am I still eligible?
Yes. However, the payment from these funds, when considered in combination with other types of CARES Act relief (for example, Payment Protection Program, Unemployment, etc.) as well as your revenues cannot make you “more than whole” when considered in comparison to your average annual revenue over the past five years (2015-2019).  In making this determination, you only need to include sources of relief that do not need to be paid back.  If you are an aquaculturist who received funds through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2, you must include these funds in your calculation.  Finally, if you are a commercial fisherman who received funds from the USDA Seafood Trade Relief Program addressing retaliatory trade tariffs in 2019, you do not need to include that revenue in your calculation because those funds are not COVID related. 

If you accept these funds and later determine that they made you “more than whole” it is your responsibility to return the funds to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Do I have to pay this money back?
No, not unless you later determine that receiving these funds has made you more than whole.

Is this money taxable?
Yes. Your SSN or EIN is required so that a 1099 is issued for the 2020 tax year.

How can I make sure you received my application?
Whether you apply online or over the phone, when your application is completed you will receive a confirmation email at the email address that you provide.

How will I receive my Relief payment?
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will issue the checks, which will be mailed to the address you provide to DMR in your application.

How long after I apply will I receive my payment?
The application period closes on November XX.  DMR will need to take some time to verify the application information before it is submitted to ASMFC for payment.  Once submitted, checks will be mailed within 1-2 weeks.  DMR will send an email letting applicants know when the list of recipients has been given to ASMFC. 

Is DMR doing anything else with this money?
A small percentage of the overall funds has been reserved to conduct a promotional campaign for all Maine seafood, from October 2020 through the summer of 2021.  This campaign seeks to address the challenge of the loss of seafood markets by providing consumers with a Maine seafood experience at home.  An advisory panel comprised of industry representatives with marketing expertise in shellfish, lobster, finfish, aquaculture and tourism will provide input and feedback on the marketing plan. 

My question was not answered by the letter I received, or the FAQ.  Who can I talk to?
Please call the Commissioner’s Office at 207.624.6553 and your call will be directed to the appropriate individual.  You may also email your question to