Fishermen can still respond to Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program letters

Published 11:35 am Sunday, January 27, 2019

Commercial fishermen eligible for the state’s Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program, who have not already done so, should contact the Division of Marine Fisheries as soon as possible if they want to participate in the program.

In December, the division sent certified letters to approximately 1,800 commercial fishermen who are residents of North Carolina and who held a valid, current Standard or Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License or a Shellfish License for N.C. Residents without a Standard Commercial Fishing License during September 2018. The letters invited the fishermen to participate in the Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program and asked them to verify their September landings data and submit a W-9 tax form.

To date, the division has heard back from fewer than 900 eligible fishermen.

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The division had set a Jan. 4 deadline for responses; however, because delivery of the letters to some fishermen took longer than expected, the division is being lenient with this deadline.

Additionally, the division lacks confirmation of receipt of the letters for about 200 eligible fishermen.

Any resident commercial fisherman or shellfish harvester licensed in September 2018 and who had landings in September 2015, 2016 or 2017 who did not receive a letter from the division should contact Brandi Salmon in the division’s Morehead City Office at 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632.

The state has appropriated $11.6 million to the Division of Marine Fisheries to compensate commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters for income losses from harvest reductions due to Hurricane Florence. Distribution of the money will be based on reported landings in September, October and November 2018 as compared to the same months in 2015, 2016, 2017.

Letters asking fishermen to verify October and November landings for these years will go out at a future date.