Applications open for fishers' CARES Act relief
February 11, 2021
Eligible commercial fishing, shellfish, charter and seafood sector industry members who have been negatively impacted by the covid-19 pandemic can now apply with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) for assistance.
Industry members who experienced a gross revenue loss from January through July, 2020, greater than 35 percent of their 2015-2019 average, are eligible to apply for federal relief funding.
Washington-based commercial fishers who fish in Alaska are also eligible.
Under Section 12005 of the CARES Act, Congress provided $300 million to states to distribute to fisheries participants. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries allocated the funding among states, territories, and tribes with Washington and Alaska receiving the highest allocation of $50 million each.
Washington non-tribal commercial fishing, shellfish and charter industry members have been allocated $39 million, with $11 million allocated to members of Washington’s 24 treaty tribes. The CARES Act funds are intended to help those who have experienced negative impacts to commercial, subsistence, cultural and ceremonial fisheries resulting directly or indirectly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington State Governor’s Office developed a plan for distributing this funding with assistance from the Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife, Agricultural, Commerce, and the Washington Office of Financial Management.
WDFW is inviting those who may qualify to join a virtual public meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, to learn more about the federal relief funding. Details of the meeting will be available on WDFW’s website: wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/commercial/federal-disaster-assistance/cares-act.
More information, full eligibility details and application materials and instructions are available on the PSFMC’s website at: psmfc.org/cares-act-the-coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act. Applications are open through March 25, 2021.
A second round of assistance is expected to cover losses incurred between August and December 31, 2020, made possible by another $300 million that Congress approved in December. NOAA Fisheries has not yet announced how this second round of funding will be divided between the state, territories, and tribes.