CARES Act "More than Whole" Information

Following the issuance of the initial round of checks, DMR has received a large volume of calls inquiring about the calculation for the "more than whole" requirement associated with the CARES Act funding for Fisheries Relief. If you have questions about how to determine if you have been made more than whole by the Fisheries Relief funds you received from Maine DMR through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), please read the following explanation. You may contact DMR for further questions, but please be aware that DMR staff cannot tell you whether or not you have been made more than whole. All DMR staff can do is explain how NOAA has indicated the calculation should be performed. If you require data from your harvester or dealer reports to make this determination, please contact DMR's Landings Program at 633-9509. You will need to complete a form and have your signature notarized in order to obtain the confidential landings information.

NOAA is requiring fishery participants receiving Section 12005 CARES Act assistance to affirm that they are not making themselves more than whole as a result of the combination of financial assistance from:

  • this program (CARES Act Fisheries Relief), and
  • other programs in the CARES Act (e.g., Payment Protection Program, unemployment, CFAP 2), and
  • their traditional revenue stream.

Your 2020 revenues from all of the above sources must be compared to your total average annual revenue from the previous five years. This requirement was explained to potential applicants in the letter in which license holders were told they could apply or appeal for these funds, in the application, where the applicant self-certified that they would not be made more than whole by checks of $4,000, and in the letter included with the checks.


1. Determine your revenues for each of the five prior years (2015-2019)

  • Use gross revenues, not adjusted or net.
  • You can use EITHER - your gross revenues from your tax forms, or your commercial fishing revenues, based on your slips/co-op reports, etc. If you are using your commercial fishing revenues, you must use the revenues for all fisheries in which you participate.
  • If you did not have a license in each of the past five years, you do not need to include in your average any year in which you did not have a license.
  • If you had a license, but did not fish, you should include that year as a zero in your average.
  • If you or a family member had a medical issue that prevented you from fishing, you do not need to include that year in your average as a zero. You must have documentation of the medical issue that you could produce in the event of an audit.

2. Add the gross revenues from each of the years you are using, and divide by the number of years you have added together, to calculate your average revenues.

3. Calculate your 2020 revenues (gross, not adjusted or net)

  • If you received other forms of CARES Act revenues that do not need to be repaid such as PPP or unemployment, you must include these funds in your 2020 revenues.
  • If you are a fisherman who received funds from the USDA for relief from retaliatory tariffs, you do not need to include those revenues because those funds are not from the CARES Act.

4. Subtract your 2020 revenues (step 3) from your average revenues (step 2). This will tell you how far below your average your 2020 revenues are. If your 2020 revenues are greater than your prior five-year average, you cannot accept any funds from this program.

5.If the difference between your 2020 revenues and your prior five-year average is equal to, or more than what you received in your check, you may keep all revenues provided through this program. If the difference between your 2020 revenues and your prior five-year average is less than what you received in your check, you may only keep the difference between your 2020 revenues and your prior five-year average revenues.

For example:

I am a commercial fisherman who lobsters and scallops. I have had both these licenses for the past five years. My gross revenues from commercial fishing were as follows:

2015: $50,000

2016: $30,000

2017: $60,000

2018: $50,000

2019: $70,000

Average revenues: $260,000/5= $52,000

2020 revenues: $40,000 in commercial fishing revenue, plus $5,000 in unemployment = $45,000

Average Revenues ($52,000) 2020 Revenues ($45,000) = $7,000

I can keep $6,155 in CARES Act funds because $6,155 is less than $7,000.

Alternatively, if average revenues were $52,000 and 2020 Revenues were $50,000, I would only be able to keep $2000 in CARES Act Fisheries Relief. ($52,000 - $50,000 = $2,000).

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is my check larger than $4000? The exact size of the checks was determined by dividing the available funds by the number of unique applications for relief that DMR received in these sectors. DMR had anticipated that they would receive a larger number of applications, and for that reason, had previously estimated that checks were unlikely to be larger than $4000/recipient. However, because there were far fewer applicants, the actual checks are significantly larger ($6155).

What other sources of CARES Act funding do I need to include in my calculations? You need to include any revenues you collected from other CARES Act programs that do not need to be repaid. You do not need to count loans as revenue.

Do I use gross or net or adjusted revenues? Use gross revenues.

What if I have incorporated my fishing business? You should base your calculations on the revenues of the entity to which the check was issued and the 1099 will be received. So if you received the funds as an individual, calculate your individual revenues in 2020 and for the prior five years. If the check was issued to a company, calculate the company revenues in 2020 and for the prior five years.

Where do I return excess funds? If you determine that you need to return any portion of these funds, please mail a check for the amount that makes you more than whole, payable to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N; Arlington, VA 22201, Attention Laura Leach.

Will I get a corrected 1099 if I return some portion of the funds? For the checks that were issued on December 22 and December 29, 2020, ASMFC is not submitting the information for the issuance of the 1099s until mid-February. If you return excess funds to ASMFC before the 1099's are generated, your 1099 will reflect only the funds that you kept. If you return excess funds to ASMFC after the 1099's are generated, you will receive a corrected 1099 that reflects what you kept.

What are the penalties if I do not return funds that make me more than whole? DMR cannot speak to any federal penalties that may be associated with failing to return funds as required.