The state is embarking on the distribution of the second round of federal COVID-19 relief funds to fishing stakeholders, with applications set to go out this week.

The $23.8 million set aside for Massachusetts stakeholders, which follow the March 2020 distribution of $28 million, will go to commercial fishermen, seafood processors, shellfish farmers and for-hire recreational vessel owners.

"The fishing and seafood industries are integral parts of the economy, history and culture of Massachusetts, and have suffered significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement announcing the new distribution of relief funding.

As with the first round, the Massachusetts allocation is the third largest among all states. Only Alaska and Washington, with $40 million each, received more.

The Bay State allocation represents about 9% of the additional $255 million in funding contained in the federal Corona Virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.

Elsewhere in New England, Maine was fifth among all states with $17.14 million, while New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island each received $3 million.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, as in the first round, will distribute the money with pass-through assistance of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

As in the first round, the state was assisted in developing its spend plan, which had to be approved by NOAA Fisheries, by an advisory panel of stakeholders and sector working groups.

Eligible fishing stakeholders should begin receiving applications this week, according to the state Division of Marine Fisheries, and all money must be distributed to stakeholders in the four industry sectors by Sept. 30.

The deadline for returning the completed applications to DMF is Aug. 28.

"The Massachusetts Round Two CARES Act Fisheries Relief Spending Plan is similar to the spending plan we used in round one, recrafted with additional input from sector working groups to adjust eligibility timeframes to qualify more applicants for relief in this round." DMF said on the dedicated website for the distribution of funds.

The site can be found at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mass-cares-act-fisheries-relief.

Eligible recipients are DMF permit holders, "including commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, aquaculture businesses, and seafood wholesalers and processors whose residence is in Massachusetts."

Only businesses that suffered COVID-related losses greater than 35% are qualified to receive money.

Retail seafood retail markets, restaurants, tackle shops, tackle manufacturers and boat yards are all ineligible, DMF said. Commercial fishing operations and businesses involving freshwater species are also ineligible.

The funds are not loans and do not have to be repaid. They are, however, taxable.

The DMF has scheduled four in-person workshops in August to assist stakeholders with their applications and answer questions. The Gloucester workshop is set for Aug. 18, from 1 to 7 p.m., at the DMF facility on Emerson Avenue.

The other three workshops will be in Chatham on Aug. 11, Scituate on Aug. 12 and New Bedford on Aug. 17.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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