New York governor urges Sandy victims to apply for grants

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging New York fishing businesses hurt by Hurricane Sandy to apply for funding through the state’s recently approved Coastal Fishing Industry Grant Program.

The storm caused an estimated $58 million of damage to New York’s recreational fishing sector and $19 million to its commercial fishing sector.

Under the program, eligible businesses will be able to apply for grants of as much as $50,000 to cover uncompensated losses.

"The New York recreational fishing industry was hit hard by Sandy, and we have a long road to recovery ahead,” Regal Marine Products vice president Melissa Dearborn said in a statement. “Some are rebuilding from the ground up, many are struggling to get through difficult financial times, but all are resilient and determined to rebuild New York’s fishing communities. As the weather warms and the headlines fade, those not in the trenches may forget how much work is still to be done. It is so encouraging to know that Gov. Cuomo and his staff have not forgotten us and are still working hard to get the financial assistance the recreational fishing industry so desperately needs. These grants are a first step toward that goal.”

The regions most devastated by Sandy are vital parts of the fishing industry, supporting “thousands of local jobs and generating billions in economic activity,” Cuomo said in a statement.

"With peak fishing season arriving, I am directing new federal funds to support this critical industry on Long Island and Staten Island as it works to reach full recovery,” he said.

Fishing businesses that suffered damage or economic hardship as a result of Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee are also eligible for funding through the program. The $20 million program was part of the state's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which gained federal approval last month.

"New York's fishing industry is critical to our economy, supporting jobs," Empire State Development president and CEO Kenneth Adams said in a statement. "These funds are dedicated to helping this vital industry recover the losses they sustained during Sandy and rebuild stronger than before."

In 2011, the state's commercial fishing industry generated $5 billion in sales, contributed $1.8 billion to the gross state product and supported 42,000 jobs across the broader economy. The state's marine recreational fishing industry generated $369 million in sales, contributed $212 million to gross state product and supported 3,000 jobs across the broader state economy.

Fishing businesses could be eligible for additional grants and funding support through the state's small business recovery program if uncompensated losses exceed $50,000 or for special mitigation grants to help them prevent similar damage from future storms.

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