The National Sea Grant Law Center


  • NSGLC Provides COVID-19 Resources

  • April 16th, 2020 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: COVID-19 Miscellaneous

  • COVID-19 has affected all of our lives in a multitude of ways. It can be difficult to navigate Congress’ efforts to ease the impact on Americans, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or “CARES”) Act. As a result, the National Sea Grant Law Center (NSGLC) has received numerous questions from both the National Marine Fisheries Service and Sea Grant programs throughout the country on what relief is available to fishermen, aquaculture farms, and the larger seafood industry.

    In response to these questions, the NSGLC has created a COVID-19 resource page. Our intent is to have this page be both a source for the materials we are creating, as well as a place to share other sources of reliable information. We have also looked at the CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act for provisions that may apply to fishing businesses, including the small business relief provided for by these acts. The NSGLC has been developing “Quick Take” slides on relevant topics under these acts, including:

    • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Advances
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
    • Tax Credits
    • Paid Leave
    • Assistance to Fishery Participants

    These slides are available on our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as our COVID-19 website. While we developed them for the seafood industry, these resources are relevant for most small businesses. In addition, because they are common in the seafood industry, we have particularly focused on how the CARES Act treats independent contractors, as well as sole proprietors and self-employed individuals.

    We are also holding a webinar series based on the CARES Act and other COVID-19 issues as they emerge. The live webinars are only open to Sea Grant employees and our federal partners, but we will be posting the recordings on our website for all to access. We have already posted answers to the questions we received during our first webinar on April 8th, which focused on the PPP and EIDL. Our next webinar will be next Wednesday, April 22. We plan on focusing on some of the tax and unemployment provisions. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact your local Sea Grant personnel.

    In developing these resources, we have noted a few general recommendations:

    • Start compiling documentation. You will need to make your case that you or your business was affected by COVID-19. This can include tax filings, income statements, and expenses reports from 2019 and 2020.
    • Reach out to your bank or lawyer, if you have one, or a small business development center. They can assist and guide you through this process.
    • Be persistent, but patient. The relief provisions provided by Congress are new. The Small Administration, banks, and state unemployment centers are all adjusting to implementing these new programs. It also may not be clear at this point what is covered by some of these programs—for instance, are fishery shares considered payroll for the PPP or an EIDL?
    • The framework is going to continue to evolve. Congress may pass new legislation and the agencies will continue to issue new guidance on these new programs.

    The NSGLC is continuing to follow these issues, so stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook, and COVID-19 webpage for more resources!

  • Catherine Janasie
    Senior Research Counsel

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