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Fisheries Disaster Assistance

This program is authorized under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 USC 1861a) and provides grants to deal with commercial fishery failures brought about by fishery resource disasters.

Fishery disaster causes may be (a) natural; (b) man-made (if they are "beyond the control of fishery managers to mitigate through conservation and management measures"); or (c) undetermined. Grant funds can be used for assessing the effects of commercial fishery failures or or for restoring fisheries or preventing future failures, and for assisting fishing communities affected by fishery failures. Activities funded under the above authority must not expand the fishery failure in that fishery or into other fisheries or into other geographical regions.

Before funds are authorized under this program, the Secretary of Commerce must first determine that a fishery resource disaster has occurred and that this disaster has resulted in a commercial fishery failure. Once a disaster declaration has been made and Congress has appropriated funds to address the disaster, the National Marine Fisheries Service will accept applications for funding consideration. Under this program the recipient is responsible for providing 25% matching funds.

In the Southeast this program has been used to fund the restoration of brown shrimp habitat in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, and to study the effects of changing hydrological conditions on brown shrimp survival in Mississippi. Most recently this program has reimbursed Florida Keys spiny lobster and stone crab trap fishermen for uninsured gear losses caused by Hurricane Georges and Tropical Storm Mitch.

History of SER Fishery Disasters Download File

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available.


(727) 824 - 5324
Fisheries Grants Program Officer
Robert Sadler

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on September 10, 2021