COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
Covid-19 has reached the coast of Maine.
MCFA has curated a list of resources to keep fishermen healthy and financially secure.
We will be updating this information regularly.
Some fishermen and fishing businesses are able to cope or adapt for the short-term, others need immediate assistance, none are prepared for what might be a long-term decline in seafood value. The following are resources to help you weather the storm.
MCFA's work in response to COVID-19 is supported in part by the following foundations:
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll despite limited revenue due to COVID19 impacts. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Loan payments will be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
All PPP applications must be submitted to the SBA by the lender by June 30, 2020
Fishing businesses, including those who are self-employed, are eligible to receive a PPP loan.
New guidance now allows boat owners to include 1099 Crew as employees for calculating payroll costs.
New applications-include in the payroll calculation the amount you pay your crew, per box 5 of 1099-MISC.
If your 1099 crew already received their own PPP loan, you CANNOT include them in your PPP loan.
You can AMEND your loan and increase the amount of the loan to include your crew only if the lender has not yet reported your loan to SBA on Form 1502. You will have to talk to your lender to confirm if this is possible.
New legislation has provided more flexibility, making it easier to be eligible for full loan forgiveness:
Extend the spending period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, providing flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness. Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use the original 8 week period.
Reduces the amount that has to be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60%, to qualify for full forgiveness.
Increase loan term to 5 years.
Additional safe harbor provisions and allowances for partial forgiveness.
Learn more about the changes here. Note, the changes are not yet updated on the SBA website. PPP loans are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds run out. See the Official SBA PPP page.
sole proprietors, 1099 workers, & fishermen can start applying 5/1/2020
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a new federal program that expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to certain categories of workers not typically able to receive unemployment in the past.
Maine will begin accepting applications for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) at 8 a.m. Friday, May 1 for sole proprietors, 1099 workers, and fishermen. Information that claimants will need in order to apply is now on the following website: www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua.
Frequently asked questions LINK
Those filing for PUA will be asked to self-report their earnings in either 2018 or 2019 when they file their claim. The federal Office of the Inspector General has advised that this program will be subject to rigorous audits, and so the Department asks that claimants provide accurate information to the best of their ability.
PUA benefits start at 50% of the average weekly state unemployment benefit for self-employed. This is $172/week. If you are self-employed, once we are able to verify documented earnings, PUA benefits will be adjusted retroactively. The maximum benefit available under PUA is $445/week.
In addition, anyone who receives a PUA benefit also receives the full $600 additional weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which is available through July 25, 2020.
The Department of Labor recommends that people file their claims online, using a computer as opposed to a smartphone, if possible. The Department has also implemented an alphabetical call-in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion to manage capacity to receive and process claims.
Covid-19 in Maine
Maine Public has a great overview of everything you need to know about the virus in Maine. Information and resources on the virus along with links to additional resources and news.
Covid-19 Screening Tool
From Apple (Yes, that Apple)
This tool can help you understand what to do next about Covid-19.
Let’s all look out for each other by knowing our status, trying not to infect others, and reserving care for those in need.
Maintaining Health Insurance
You may be eligible for free or low-cost insurance through MaineCare or the Marketplace. You may also be eligible for other programs that can help with the costs of Covid-19 testing and other medical care you may need.
Stop the Spread
1. Social distancing: We’re Mainers, we don’t like to be close to anyone anyway.
2. Wash your hands
3. Don't touch your face
Get all the facts on how to stop the spread.
Once Congress passes an economic relief package we will update resources and opportunities for fishermen.
The state of Maine received $20 million in fishery disaster relief from the CARES Act. It is still unclear how those funds will be dispersed to the industry. What is clear is that it will not go far as the entire seafood supply chain, aquaculture, and charter businesses all fall under this program.
Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan
Small businesses are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
The lending criteria is generous and there is flexibility in how the loan can be used for business expenses. The loan has an interest rate of 3.75% and repayment is deferred for 12 months.
Single adults with an income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. Above those income figures, the payment decreases. A family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
The requirements for this repayment has changed!
Changes made to unemployment through the stimulus package will allow far more people to potentially be eligible for benefits. Those who previously did not qualify for unemployment may now be able to access these benefits. This includes fishermen and crew.
SBA Disaster Assistance
Only agriculture businesses may apply for this program at this time. There has been some pressure to change those regulations to include fishing businesses. We will update as appropriate.
For fishermen interested in selling their own product, here are some links to rules, licenses, and other important information. Selling seafood can be complicated, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.
For consumers looking to buy fresh Maine seafood, here is a list of sale locations.
Thank you for supporting Maine fishermen.
Federal Dealer Permit
Dealers need permits for each federally managed species that they purchase. You also need a federal dealers permit IF you are buying product from a vessel that has ANY federal permit.
Maine Retail Seafood License Rules
To make sure you have the appropriate licences when selling to or buying for the seafood wholesale or retail markets, use this link to Maine's applicable laws.
COVID-19 is creating stress, fear, and uncertainty in all our lives. Depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other mental health concerns are on the rise. Just as we want you to stay healthy physically, we need you to stay healthy mentally.
Contact your PCP and ask for recommendations for health professionals near you.
Maine Crisis Hotline: 1 (888) 568-1112
Maine’s warm-line for non-crisis calls: 1 (866) 771-9276
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Who would be covered by the expanded program?
The changes form the stimulus package will allow for far more unemployed workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed people and part-time workers. Those who are unemployed or who cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons are likely to receive benefits.
Are independent contractors covered in the bill?
Self-employed people will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
What if I’ve been advised by a health care provider to quarantine myself?
Those who must self-quarantine will be covered. The legislation also says that individuals who are unable to get to work because of a quarantine imposed as a result of the outbreak will also be eligible.
For more information go to
Automobile Loan Programs
Ford Motor Credit/Ford Disaster Relief 1.800.723.4016
Chrysler Capital 1.855.563.5635
Chevy Cares 1.800.222.1020
GM Financial (waiving late fees through April 30) 1.800.284.2271