Seafood Trade Relief Program

The Signup Deadline for the STRP Program has been extended from December 14, 2020 to January 15, 2021. This will give a little more breathing room to make sure everyone eligible will be able to sign up.

Dave Lavway, USDA Maine Farm Service Agency
The U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA) announced that commercial Maine lobstermen are eligible to apply for relief through the Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) because they experienced “trade damage” resulting from retaliatory tariffs by China on lobster exports.
  • For more information or to request an application, contact your local Farm Service Agency office. Links to application forms are below.


  • Commercial lobstermen are eligible to apply for funds based on this formula: (2019 pounds landed) x (50 cents)
  • You must hold a valid state or federal commercial fishing license to catch a species approved by USDA for the STRP and your catch must be sold through a legally permitted or licensed seafood dealer.
  • To apply, average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2016-2018 cannot be greater than $900,000 unless at least 75% of the AGI is derived from farming, ranching, forestry, seafood production, or related activities.
  • No person, business or legal entity can receive more than $250,000 in payments through this program.

How do Lobstermen Apply?

  • Applications will be accepted September 14 through January 14, 2021.
  • This program is fully funded. All applications made through January 14, 2021 will receive full consideration.
  • The benefit is not a grant or a loan so it does not need to be paid back. The benefit is taxable income.
  • Applications (form CCC-916) must be submitted to an FSA office. This can be done by mail, email or fax, or in person (by appointment only).
  • Lobstermen must “self certify” the amount of his/her 2019 commercial lobster landings in pounds on the application. The quickest way to get this information is to contact your dealer.
  • Lobstermen may need to show proof that you hold a commercial lobster license or proof of your 2019 landings, if requested by FSA. This would require a verification of landings by the appropriate state or federal management agency.

Application Forms

The STRP is a one page application (CCC-16), however there are several supplemental forms which must be submitted within 60 days of your application. Call your local FSA office for more information on the application process. FSA can mail you the forms, or send an email so you can fill them out electronically.

  • Application (Form CCC-916), the 2020 STRP Application
  • Application (CCC-916) Instructions, 2020 STRP Application Instructions
  • SF-3881, ACH Payment Enrollment (or provide a cancelled check)
  • CCC-941, Average Adjusted Gross Income certification and consent
  • CCC-901, Member’s Info (only if incorporated)
  • CCC-902-E, Farm Operating Plan for Entity (only if incorporated)
  • CCC-902-I, Farm Operating Plan for Individual (only if sole-proprietor, self-employed, DBA)
  • CCC-942, Certification of Income from Fishing, Farming, Ranching, Forestry Operations (only if Avg AGI exceeds $900,000)

Information Links to USDA Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP)

MLA Statement on USDA Seafood Trade Relief Program

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) is excited to learn about the opportunity for financial aid for Maine lobstermen and other U.S. fishermen who have suffered as a result of retaliatory tariffs. Maine’s hardworking lobstermen did not create these trade issues, but for too long, have had to live with the consequences. Lobstermen have been doing all they can to keep their businesses viable only to be met with weakened markets in 2020 due to the pandemic. Federal relief will help keep Maine’s fishermen solvent so they may continue following their proud traditions in the face of so many challenges.

The MLA looks forward to learning more about how the USDA’s Seafood Trade Relief Program will benefit our lobstermen and communities. The MLA is grateful for the Trump administration’s leadership and for the tremendous long-standing support of Maine’s Congressional delegation to address unfair trade practices which have hurt the U.S. seafood industry.

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