Alaska fishermen and other businesses can soon apply for a new $90 million pool of Covid pandemic money that will be distributed by the state.  Money for the program comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The  Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development announced last week that applications will open sometime this fall and recipients will be chosen “based on demonstrated need.”

Eligible fishing businesses include commercial fishermen who held a limited entry permit or interim entry permit in 2019 and 2020.

Applicants must be based in Alaska, have revenue between $10,000 and $50 million in 2019, filed taxes in 2019 and 2020, and be able to show they lost at least 50% of their net income as a result of the pandemic. Nonprofits are not eligible to apply.

All applicants will be required to say how they intend to spend the money, which will be distributed as a grant that does not have to be repaid.

Applications will be split into three groups, based on the size of their business. Each group will be eligible for up to 80% of their documented income loss, up to $250,000, $500,000 or a cap of $1 million.

The funds must be spent on past, current, or future business costs and may not be retained or invested.

Grant recipients also will be required to spend the funds by a certain unspecified date, likely by next Fall, or return any unused money.

Initial proposals called for a larger grant program, reported the Anchorage Daily News, but the Alaska Legislature instead used money from the act to fund infrastructure projects and make more money available for the 2021 Permanent Fund dividend, the amount of which has yet to be determined.

Find more information at the state Commerce Department website