January 15, 2021 is the extended deadline for U.S. fishermen to apply for federal funds to take the sting out of market hits from the Trump Administration’s trade tariffs.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will distribute a total of $530 million to fishermen based on their catches in 2019 for 19 species under the new Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP).

For example, the U.S. pays a 38 percent tariff on seafood products going to China, previously Alaska’s biggest buyer. That has pushed down sales to the lowest level in a decade, a reduction of more than $250 million in two years.

Another 35% tariff was imposed by Trump last month on many U.S. seafood items going to Europe, including salmon, over a spat to do with airplanes.

Damages to fishermen are calculated as the difference with the trade tariff and the baseline without it.

For cod, that adds up to an extra 14-cents a pound.  So a fisherman who had cod landings last year of 375,000 pounds would multiply that by 14 cents. That adds up to a payment of $52,500. (See chart below)

Other Alaska species include Dungeness crab, king crab, snow crab and Tanners, geoduck clams, salmon, sablefish, Alaska pollock, flounders and more.

Fisherman must fill out a “2020 Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) Application,” found at www.farmers.gov  and at USDA Farm Service Agencies.

In Alaska there are three locations at Homer, Kenai and the statewide office in Palmer. Again, the extended deadline to apply is January 15, 2021.

Alaska is still on the waiting list for its $50 million share in fisheries assistance as part of the $300 million CARES Act approved in May.

In fact, only $16.5 million has been given out so far, according to a breakdown of a General Accounting Office report by SeafoodNews.com.

Eligible entities had to submit detailed plans on how funds would be spent for approval by the NOAA Grants Office. By late November, applications for $50 million for both Alaska and Washington were still not available, meaning those plans are not yet approved.  There is no set schedule for disbursing the funds to fishery participants, according to NOAA.

Meanwhile, this week another $908 billion Covid relief package was proposed in Congress which would include $21.5 billion for nutrition and agriculture programs, including fisheries.

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