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Rules and Regulations
In response to COVID-19, there have been acts for fisheries relief funding.

USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (SPRS) Block Grant Program

Consolidated Appropriations Act -- Fisheries Assistance Program (CAAFAP)

CARES Act Fishery Disaster Assistance Program

Other Relief/Assistance Programs.

The Rhode Island Large Whale Gear Modification Plan


USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (SPRS) Block Grant Program

The Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program provides grants to eligible state agencies and territories to support seafood processors, including at-sea processing vessels, to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19. The federal grant opportunity was publicly noticed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service on September 22, 2021 and can be found at the links provided below.
RIDEM is the sole Rhode Island applicant for this block grant. USDA has determined that the Rhode Island allocation of SPRS funding is $371,412. Upon receipt of these funds, RIDEM will provide direct payments to eligible seafood processors, dealers and processing vessels to reimburse them for eligible expenses incurred between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2021, upon application to RIDEM and subject to the limits of RI’s total allocation.
RIDEM has been conducting outreach to ensure that eligible beneficiaries are aware of this relief and understand the requirements of the funding opportunity. Two public meetings have been held to date.

Regulations Part 20 - Regulations Governing the Administration of the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Provided to the State of Rhode Island by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service Under Title VII, Subtitle B, § 751 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. Law 116-260 (H.R. 133) in Response to the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

Workbook to Support Applications

First Meeting - October 26, 2021

Second Meeting - November 10, 2021

Third Meeting - March 2, 2022

Based on the public input provided at these meetings, RIDEM will develop and submit an application for the RI block grant by November 22, 2021, the application deadline. Upon receipt of the grant, which is expected in January 2022, RIDEM will launch a second phase of public meetings, including a regulatory workshop and hearing, to finalize the details of the program. Soon thereafter, an application period for eligible RI-based processors, dealers and processing vessels will be announced. A preliminary estimate for the timing of this application period is March-April 2022.
Refer to this page for meeting notices and program updates as they become available. For direct receipt of notifications pertaining to this program, as well as other RI marine fisheries meetings, notices, and general information, subscribe to the RIDEM Marine Fisheries email list. To do that, click the green button at the lower right-hand side of this webpage.

Additional Resources


Note for aquaculturists
Please be aware that this SPRS program does not include funding for aquaculturists. The USDA has an alternate program (Pandemic Response and Safety Grants) for aquaculturists to apply directly to the USDA for disaster relief funding. Refer to the below link for program details. https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/prs

Questions about this program can be directed to Dan Costa, State Port Manager, at 401-782-4587 or dan.costa@dem.ri.gov.


The Rhode Island Large Whale Gear Modification Plan

The RIDEM, Division of Marine Fisheries will be using economic relief funds funneled through NOAA Fisheries to assist the Rhode Island Lobster Industry in compliance with the recent NOAA final rule implementing changes to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan for the 2022 fishing year beginning May 1. The funds will be used to assist the industry in compliance with weak line and or weak line insert requirements which are accepted by NOAA to mitigate serious injury and mortality of large whales but specifically North Atlantic Right Whales. The funds will be used to replace or modify current gear configurations and help to defer the associated cost for these modifications. Each active participant will be given the opportunity to acquire replacement vertical line or weak line inserts purchased by the Department to comply with the take reduction plan, with the eligibility amount to be based on an individual’s trap allocation, fishing activity and corresponding vertical lines.

Regulations Part 18 - Emergency Regulations Governing the Use of Federal Funds Provided to the State of Rhode Island for the Large Whale Gear Modification Assistance Plan

First meeting - October 19, 2021


Second meeting - November 8, 2021


Consolidated Appropriations Act -- Fisheries Assistance Program (CAAFAP)

Regulations Part 17 - Emergency Regulations Governing the Administration of Federal Fisheries Disaster Relief Funding Provided to the State of Rhode Island Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

On March 29, 2021, NOAA Fisheries announced the allocation of an additional $255 million in fisheries assistance funding for coastal states provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The funding will support activities previously authorized under Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act. It will be allocated to states and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID-19.
For More Information:

There are 4 groups eligible for relief funds; aquaculture, commercial fishing, party and charter, and seafood processors.


Application Period is CLOSED

Applications must be received between September 13, 2021 through September 27, 2021

The first meeting by RIDMF was held April 28, 2021 to go over the general program.

The second meeting by RIDMF was held June 1, 2021 to go over the feedback received.

The third meeting by RIDMF was held June 16, 2021 to go over the final spend plan.


CARES Act Fishery Disaster Assistance Program

Regulations Part 16 - Emergency Regulations Governing the Administration of Federal Fisheries Relief Funding Provided to the State of Rhode Island Under the CARES Act

Application Period is CLOSED

Applications must be received between Monday September 14, 2020 through Monday September 28,2020


The Secretary of Commerce announced on May 7, 2020 the allocation of $300 million in fisheries relief funding in response to COVID-19 through the CARES Act. Funding has been made available to states. RI has been allocated $3,294,234 to distribute amongst fishery participants. The announcement can be found here.

There are 4 groups eligible for relief funds; aquaculture, commercial fishing, party and charter, and seafood processors.

General program.


Aquaculture specific information.


Commercial fishing specific information


Party and Charter specific information


Seafood processor specific information

  • First meeting was held on July 9
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Contact Marine Fisheries
3 Ft. Wetherill Rd.
Jamestown, RI 02835
Phone: 1-401-423-1923
Fax: 1-401-423-1925
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