Southeastern Fisheries Association
Protecting access to seafood
SFA’s mission is to defend, protect and enhance the commercial fishing industry in the southeastern United States for present participants as well as future generations through all legal means while maintaining healthy and sustainable stocks of fish.
COVID-19 Helpful Links and Resources
NOAA COVID-19 Updates and Fisheries Info: NOAA Fisheries Coronavirus Updates
Food & Drug Administration Response to COVID-19: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Small Business Association Loan options: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Center for Disease Control: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC
SFA 2020 Annual Meeting Canceled
As many of you know, the global COVID-19 Pandemic has adversely affected businesses, with the fishing industry being one of the most severely impacted. This new reality is forcing individuals and organizations to adapt and change, in order to come out on the other side of these unprecedented times active & healthy. With that the Board of Directors recently met and made the decision to cancel our 2020 Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for Sep. 30 through noon Oct. 2, Key Largo, FL.
We will continue to keep our members informed via periodic newsletters and look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting in 2021, as we head toward 70 years of supporting commercial fisherman while they continue to provide food for our nation’s public!
CARES Act Updates and contacts for State Agencies
The CARES Act has set aside millions of dollars for aid to the commercial fishing industry, yet the process of how disbursement will take place is still being finalized. Individual state agencies must submit spend plans to either the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and then once those plans are approved by both the Commission overseeing that state's allocation and NOAA, the funds will be made available. Below are links to the respective Fisheries Commissions, wsfhich also include links to the agencies and staffers handling the spend plans.
Commerce Secretary Announces Allocation of $300 Million in CARES Act Funding
After President Trump signed an Executive Order today, the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA released the allocation amounts of $300 million in relief funds for the fishing industry. The five states garnering the most money are Alaska, Washington, Massachusetts, Florida, and Maine. in the press release, the recipients of the relief funds will be "Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. They should work with their state marine fisheries management agencies, territories, or Tribe to understand the process for applying for these funds.
Also of note, for the purposes of Sec. 12005 funding, businesses farther down the supply chain—including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers—are not considered “fishery-related businesses.”"
Conference for Food Protection - COVID-19 Decision Tool Flow Chart for Food Facilities
The American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) has partnered with several other food organizations to develop a decision making tool entitled "COVID-19 Employee Symptoms/Testing Status-Based Decision Tool for Food Facilities". The tool is a resource that can be used by regulators and industry professionals to make decisions about appropriate actions to take when responding to various scenarios related to employee health status in food operations.
Seafood Companies Send Coalition Letter to Congress Asking for Fisheries Assistance in Response to COVID-19
A coalition of domestic seafood companies has sent a letter to the Senate, asking for specific fisheries disasters relief. The letter asks for $1.5 billion for fisheries disaster relief, as well as $500 million for the Dept. of Commerce to purchase unsold fish and seafood products.
New Florida Fisheries Foundation Document on the Bait & Forage Fish industry
FFF President Bob Jones recently wrote a great paper on the Bait & Forage fish industry, and how the industry is sustainably managed as-is, and undervalued - "The Florida baitfish industry is an under-appreciated sector of Florida’s economy. The commercial fishermen’s harvest of baitfish (forage fish) is critical to the pleasure and success of recreational fishing for residents and tourists."
Congress Extends Applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
The Senate cast it's final vote, which was in favor of extending the PPP loan program, which has been offering forgivable loans during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The PPP loan applications are now available until August 8, 2020.
President Signs New Executive Order Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth
President Trump issued an executive order, to promote American Seafood competitiveness and increase economic growth. Many of the industry concerns, including I.U.U. fishing, industry support, and reducing cheap and less-vetted seafood imports, are mentioned in the EO.
The hope of the order is to, " protect our aquatic environments; revitalize our Nation's seafood industry; get more Americans back to work; and put healthy, safe food on our families' tables ."
U.S. Fisheries to Receive $300 Million in Dedicated Funds from CARES Act
Once the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is signed by President Trump, The U.S. domestic fisheries will be able to access $300 million in aid specifically earmarked for the industry. The president is expected to sign the bill by the end of March.
According to a SeafoodSource article on the specific aid, "Among the relief the fishing industry is set to receive is USD 300 million (EUR 272 million) that will be available to tribal nations, fishermen, fishing communities, other fishery-related businesses and certain aquaculture businesses through the Commerce Department until 30 September, 2021.
Under the bill, those entities can receive aid if their revenue losses due to COVID-19 causes “any negative impacts” to fisheries or a loss greater than 35 percent of their prior five-year average revenue."
NOAA Fisheries Issues Emergency Action to Waive Observer Coverage
From a NOAA press release - "Under this emergency action, a NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator, Office Director, or Science Center Director has the ability to waive observer requirements in three specific circumstances, after consulting with observer providers."
New HMS Committee for SFA
SFA is launching a new Highly Migratory Species Committee with the goal of creating a lasting legacy for current and future generations of fishermen, and to provide access to healthy, sustainable Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico HMS fisheries to all Americans.
To achieve these goals, the HMS committee will offer an inclusive and collaborative forum to address industry-wide challenges and promote common interests
Please email Membership Manager Katy McGlynn (email@example.com) for more details on joining this committee, and/or other SFA committees. Participation in SFA Committees is open and available to most current members in good standing.
New Pelagic Longline Bluefin Tuna Area-Based and Weak Hook Management Measures
NOAA released new rules and regulations for the Pelagic long-line fisheries to help with bluefin tuna bycatch. "NOAA Fisheries has adjusted regulatory measures put in place to manage bluefin tuna bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery for Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS), specifically addressing the Northeastern United States Closed Area, the Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area, and the Spring Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area as well as the weak hook requirement in the Gulf of Mexico."
The new measures affect the HMS pelagic longline fishery in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
SFA and Sustainable Shark Alliance Support SSFTA
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US lieutenant governors call for more inspections on imported seafood
From SeafoodSource.com News: Lieutenant governors in the United States have put their weight behind a resolution sponsored by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser (R-Louisiana) calling for additional inspections of imported seafood.
There are worldwide efforts to reduce the harvest of seafood and to reduce the number of fishing vessels and fishermen in the industry. One major effort of reduction is in fisheries identified as overcapitalized. Another effort is being made by groups who are opposed to harvesting animals for food purposes.
There is a worldwide concern about seafood safety, so much so that the United States, Canada and the European Economic Union have initiated strict seafood safety regulations. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established 21 CFR 123 in 1996 as the controlling regulations for all seafood and aquaculture products sold at wholesale in the country. SFA is developing new options for those needing to be HACCP-certified.
Manuscripts, rules and regulations show how the seafood industry in the southeast has been transformed from a valuable and respected industry to an industry considered by some groups as no longer needed.
SFA Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board: Peter Jarvis, Triar Seafood
President: Tony Lombardi, Lombardi's Seafood
Vice President: Dawn Aylesworth, Aylesworth Foundation
Treasurer: Sherri McCoy, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Co.
Secretary: Jeanna Merrifield, Wild Ocean Market
Robert Aylesworth, Aylesworth Fish & Bait
Gary Graves, Keys Fisheries
Dennis Henderson, Trico Shrimp Co.
Tom Hill, Key Largo Fisheries
Jimmy Hull, Hull's Seafood Market
Mike Merrifield, Wild Ocean Market
Gerald Pack, Safe Harbor Seafood
Eugene Raffield, Raffield Fisheries
Steven Rash, Water Street Seafood