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New York State gives fishing industry extra time to seek Sandy aid

Boat owners survey the damage caused by Hurricane

Boat owners survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, including grounded boats, destroyed docks and a swamped, sunken sailboat at Patsy's Bay Marina in Stony Point on Oct. 30, 2012. Photo Credit: Newsday / Angela Gaul

New York State extended the application deadline for marinas, aquaculture facilities, commercial boat operators, harvesters and other fishery industry professionals to apply for superstorm Sandy recovery money.

The new deadline to apply for the Superstorm Sandy Fishery Disaster Grant is Jan. 29 and is open to businesses and individuals that lost more than $5,000 in revenue or gross income as a result of the 2012 storm.

Eligible businesses must have at least $15,000 in annual earnings and be in operation at the time of the application.

The Governors Office of Storm Recovery and state Department of Environmental Conservation will issue up to $3.6 million in grants, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Eighty applications have been filed since the grant program was announced in September.

At time, Lisa Bova-Hiatt, now executive director of the office of storm recovery, said the grant program was part of the state’s pledge to help small businesses.

An August 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce and NOAA estimated the New York State fishing industry sustained $200 million in uninsured damages and losses.

The storm had different effects — some commercial fishing operations reported extensive damage to ships, docks and marinas, while charter companies lost business when customers either faced their own damaged homes or could not get to the region. Debris in the water, flooded roads, power outages and other events also hurt business.

“The charter season kind of ended,” said Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. “When you’re trying to figure out where to sleep at night, you’re not going on a fishing trip with your buddies.”

“I’m really happy they extended it,” she said of the program deadline.

A maximum grant amount has not been designated, storm recovery spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio said.

Bait and tackle shops, for-hire fishing boat operators, marinas, commercial harvesters, aquaculture facilities and commercial seafood dealers, shippers and processors are eligible for the grant money.

Businesses must be located in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester counties.

The state has contracted with business development centers in Farmingdale, Stony Brook and Staten Island to help people with applications.

Center locations, as well as grant documentation requirements, can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/ by searching fishery disaster grant.

Email queries can be sent to FisheryGrant@dec.ny.gov.

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