Almost every region of Alaska suffered from the triple whammy of historically low returns, COVID-19 impacts and low prices in 2020. Thus, relief funds for fishermen are truly needed and could not come at a better time with invoices for pre-season expenses starting to roll in.
There are a number of ways that AK CARES Grant funds were disbursed for small businesses throughout the state, some fishermen applied for those, some did not. Additionally, the CARES Act also identified an additional $300 million specifically for fisheries and aquaculture nationwide. After the pie was sliced, $50 million of those funds were allocated to the State of Alaska. The Alaska spend plan allocated $17.3 million to the commercial harvest sector and $15.8 million to the seafood processing sector.
This AK Spend Plan Goes into detail on eligibility requirements for commercial harvest, but in general:
- You must be 18-You must demonstrate a 35% loss in fisheries revenue (Based off of an average of previous 5 years’ gross revenue).
- You must have been a fishery participant 2018 and 2019
- You must be an AK Resident (with some specific exceptions detailed in the document)
- To qualify for the portion allocated specifically to commercial harvesters, you must be a permit or quota holder, or a vessel owner.