Alaska fishing industry stakeholders have less than two months to apply for Covid pandemic relief funds totaling nearly $50 million. The money, which was approved by NOAA Fisheries last week, comes from the original CARES Act that Congress passed last year.
Eligible receivers include commercial fishermen, sportfish charter operators, seafood processors, aquaculture operators and subsistence users.
All but subsistence users must show that the pandemic caused them to lose at least 35% in gross revenues from March through November 30th in 2020 as compared to the average revenue for the same period from 2015-2019 or for years available.
Alaska commercial fishermen get the largest chunk of the funds at over $17.2 million. Eligible processors will share nearly $16 million. Sportfish charter operators get a $13.3 million allocation. Subsistence users will split nearly $2.5 million in relief funds.
The aquaculture sector, including growers of shellfish and seaweeds, get just under half a million dollars. and salmon hatcheries are not included.
Commercial harvesters who fish in Alaska but live elsewhere are not eligible for Alaska funds and must apply to their state of residence. However, non-resident charter guides are eligible for Alaska funds, provided they have an Alaska business license.
The payout plan was developed by the state of Alaska, but it is being administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Watch out for some confusion on the application deadlines.
The AK Dept. of Fish and Game says applications are due by April 30.
But the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission says online applications will be accepted online through April 30 but written applications must be received or postmarked by April 23 (see links below). Send emails to AKCares@psmfc.org You also can call 1-888-517-7262
The relief funds should be dispersed in June.