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
NOAA Releases Report on COVID-19 Impact on U.S. Seafood Industry for 2020
From NOAA: "The U.S. fishing and seafood sector years generated more than $200 billion in annual sales and supported 1.7 million jobs in recent years. It experienced broad declines in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, according to a new NOAA Fisheries analysis released today. While losses vary by sector, by region and by industry, data and information from this report may help businesses and communities assess losses and inform long-term recovery and resilience strategies.
According to analysts, COVID-19 protective measures instituted in March across the United States and globe contributed to an almost-immediate impact on seafood sector sales. There was a strong start to the year, with a 3 percent increase in commercial fish landings revenue in January and February. However, revenues declined each month from a 19 percent decrease in March to a 45 percent decrease by July. This translates to a 29 percent decrease across those 7 months, as compared to 5-year averages and adjusted for inflation."
USDA Annouces $530 Million in Aid for U.S. Commercial Fishermen
From a NOAA Press Release: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making approximately $530 million in aid to U.S. fishermen through the Seafood Trade Relief Program. This program is funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation and administered by the Farm Service Agency.
The program will provide support for domestic commercial fishermen impacted by retaliatory tariffs. To qualify, they must hold a valid federal or state license or permit. Additionally, their catch must be sold or transferred to a permitted or licensed seafood dealer or by a permitted dealer if the catch is processed at sea. Seafood products grown in a controlled environment are not eligible for the program (except geoducks and salmon).
Payments are based on 2019 landings.
Fishermen can sign up for relief through the program from September 14, 2020 to December 14, 2020.
CA, MA, OR, and SC are First States to Receive CARES Act Funding
"California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and South Carolina have had CARES Act spend plans approved by NOAA. Those approvals mean the states will be able access their portions of the USD 300 million (EUR 254 million) they were allocated back in May. A fifth state, Louisiana, is indicated as having funding approval per NOAA Fisheries, but an official with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told SeafoodSource that as of 12 August, no offical[sic] approval documentation had been seen."
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.
USDA seeks Input on COVID -19 Relief Grants for Seafood Industry
From USDA: AMS invites comments on the development, coordination and implementation of grant programs to support food processing, distribution, seafood processing, farmers markets, and producers and other businesses identified in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and on the development, coordination and implementation of a food purchase and distribution program intended to provide additional aid to nonprofits serving Americans in need of nutrition assistance.
NOAA: 2019 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries
The NOAA Report to Congress on Status of U.S. Fisheries updates the legislature on how the species and fisheries managed by NOAA and the regional councils are doing, overfishing status, and other issues in the fisheries. In the report, NOAA states, "Thanks to the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the eight regional fishery management councils, and other partners, the number of stocks on the overfishing list dropped to an all-time low in 2019, while the number of stocks on the overfished list increased slightly. Continuous monitoring and improvement of our knowledge about the status of stocks is key to ongoing sustainable fisheries management under the MSA."
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 ."
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against NMFS and Gulf of Mexico Net-pen Aquaculture Operation
A National Fisherman article by Kirk Moore discuss the decision of a federal appeals court to uphold, 2-to-1, a 2018 ruling that NMFS does not have the authority to permit offshore aquaculture under the MSA. "The legal challenge was brought by a coalition opposed to expanded Gulf of Mexico aquaculture - specifically net pen fish farming proposed off Florida's west coast - that includes such fishing and environmental groups the Gulf Restoration Network, Alabama Charter Fishing Association, Food & Water Watch, and the Recirculating Farms Coalition that advocates "green" onshore fish production with recycled water."
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.”"
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
Jim Zurbrick, Fish For America
Dennis Henderson, Trico Shrimp Co.
Tom Hill, Key Largo Fisheries
Jimmy Hull, Hull's Seafood Market
Mike Merrifield, Wild Ocean Market
Greg D'Agostino, Stone Crab Inc.
Eugene Raffield, Raffield Fisheries
Steven Rash, Water Street Seafood