This page, Aquaculture CARES Act Fisheries Relief, is offered by

Aquaculture CARES Act Fisheries Relief

Aquaculture businesses can check this page for application status and other updates related to Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act.

Please see the details of the program below. To see the status of your application, please click on the link below:

Aquaculture Application Status for CARES Act Fisheries Relief

Status: The Aquaculture CARES Act Fisheries Relief Program has ended and the participant list has been finalized. Checks were mailed on September 30, 2020, to those eligible to receive relief funds. Aquaculture applications were mailed August 3, 2020, to all individuals having a 2020 Propagation or Aquaculture Permit as of June 30, 2020. Applications and appeals were due August 21, 2020.

mailed 1099 forms to recipients on February 24, 2021.
• For 2020, if you have been made 'more than whole' by this relief payment, please see guidance to return relief funds: 
MA CARES Act Fisheries Relief Payment Return

Program Overview

Overall Funding: $ 1,152,000

Basic Program Eligibility
1. Must hold a current (2020) Massachusetts Propagation or Aquaculture permit as of June 30, 2020. 
2. Must have suffered 35% revenue loss during March 15–June 30, 2020 compared to the prior 5-year average (if one or more years are inactive, calculation of the average must be detailed). 
3. Must be 18 years of age or older as of June 30, 2020. 
4. Must be in good standing with the State and Federal Government. 
5. Must be a Massachusetts resident. 
6. Assistance from this and other federal relief programs plus traditional revenue must not make the applicant more than whole. The determination of “made more than whole” will include the calendar year and be based on a comparison to the average revenue earned across the previous 5-year period.

Tiering, Appeals, and Payments
Eligible participants were tiered by maximum single-year SAFIS dealer reported landings income for the three-year period, 2017-2019.  Nine tiers were defined; the lowest tier contains incomes between >$0 - $7,500 to provide some relief at a quarter share; from > $7,500 - $300,000, income was divided into seven equal-sized tiers (Tier 2 receives 1 share, Tier 3 receives 2 shares, etc.); individuals/companies earning greater than $300,000 were placed into Tier 9 (receiving 8 shares). 

All aquaculture activity occurring on any commercial permit which could be associated directly to the shellfish propagation or aquaculture permit is included in the maximum annual income calculation. Aquaculture commercial activity that occurred on a permit associated to the same individual/corporate name as a shellfish propagation and/or aquaculture permit was assigned solely to that propagation permit holder. Any employee landings having more than one parent permit had landings split evenly among the parent permits. Commercial permits which could be linked to propagation permit holders were included. 

Eligibility and Tier placement may be appealed with supporting documentation. Examples of the type of appeals include, but are not limited to, these issues:  1) if they are not a minor; 2) their assigned tier; 3) the combined commercial permits included in the calculation of single-year maximum landing value are incorrect; 4) landings were not distributed among propagation permits for the same business correctly.

Since all applications have been qualified and appeals resolved, the number of permit holders in each tier have been determined, the total number of shares calculated, and the payment per eligible permit holder is set. 

Final Tier Amounts

There were nine tiers in this sector's relief program. Payments are as follows:

Tier Amount
1 $494.68
2 $1,978.71
3 $3,957.42
4 $5,936.13
5 $7,914.84
6 $9,893.55
7 $11,872.26
8 $13,850.97
9 $15,829.68


Please see the Massachusetts CARES Act Fisheries Relief FAQ Sheet for answers to eligibility and application related questions. If you have any questions about this aquaculture relief program, please email us at and put AQUACULTURE in the subject line.