Home > CARES Act - The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
CARES Act - The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Current Status as of March 30th, 2021.
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act identified $300 million for fisheries and aquaculture. PSMFC has been notified by the Department of Commerce that they will be assisting fishery participants affected by COVID-19 in Alaska, Washington, California, Oregon, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska, and Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast.
For information on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission CARES Act efforts: GSMFC and ASMFC
For additional NOAA Fisheries CARES Act / Coronavirus information:
Commerce Secretary Announces Allocation of $300 Million in CARES Act Funding
NOAA Fisheries Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
The Commission has been working with the states, tribes, and US territories to provide guidance on developing spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance. Spend plans must describe the main category for funding, including direct payments, fishery-related infrastructure, fishery-related education that address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to commercial fishers, charter businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, subsistence/cultural/ceremonial users, processors, and dealers. Please note, for the purposes of Sec. 12005 funding, businesses farther down the supply chain including vessel repair business, restaurants, or seafood retailers are not considered “fishery-related businesses.” Each spend plan must be reviewed and approved by NOAA.
Upon receipt and approval of individual spend plans, the Commission staff will work with the states, tribes, and US territories to communicate and disseminate; information, applications, and other correspondences to fishery participants for requesting funds. We will work with the entities on the best avenues for distributing correspondences using various associations and agency contacts. Specific deadlines will be established in which all applications must be received; it will be noted that late applications will not be accepted.
|Summary of Allocations**|
|Entity||Allocation of Sec. 12005 Funding|
|Federally Recognized Tribes on the West Coast||$5,097,501|
|Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska||$1,000,000|
|Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands||$1,000,000|
|**Final award amounts will be different due to Hollings and other assessments|
|CARES Act Contacts|
|Alaska||Kari Winkel, Office
Manager, Office of
|AK Dept. Fish and Game (ADF&G)||(907) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Washington||WA Dept. Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)||CARESfisheries@dfw.wa.gov|
|Oregon||OR Dept. Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)||ODFW.CARESAct@state.or.us|
|California||CA Dept. Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)||CARESfisheriesInfo@wildlife.ca.gov|
|Hawaii||HI Dept. Land and Natural Resources||(808) 587-0104|
|Guam||GU Dept. Agricultureemail@example.com|
|American Samoa||Selaina Vaitautolufirstname.lastname@example.org|
of the Northern
Secretary, Dept. of
Lands & Natural
|Dept. of Lands & Natural Resources||(670) email@example.com|
CNMI Grants Office
|CNMI Grants Office||(670) 237-2200||Epi.Cabrera@gov.mp|
|General CARES Act Relief|
|Washington CARES Act Relief|
|Call: (866) 990-2738|
|Alaska CARES Act Relief|
|Call: (888) 517-7262|
Alaska CARES Act Information
Applications are now available for all sectors.
The deadline for postmarking commercial harvester, sport fishing charter, seafood processing, and aquaculture sector applications is 4/23/2021. All applications must be received no later than 5:00 pm PDT on 4/30/2021 if uploading to our ShareFile site. No late applications will be accepted. Applications for these sectors can be downloaded or printed from the links below. Applications will be mailed only upon request. If requesting an application by mail, please email AKCares@psmfc.org, subject the message "Application Request," and provide your name, an address where you can receive mail, and indicate which application(s) you are requesting. If calling our toll-free hotline, please provide the same information.
The deadline for postmarking subsistence user applications is 5/21/2021. All applications must be received no later than 5:00 pm PDT on 05/28/2021 if uploading to our ShareFile site. No late applications will be accepted. Applications can be downloaded or printed from the link below (once available). Applications will be mailed only upon request. If requesting an application by mail, please email AKCares@psmfc.org, subject the message "Application Request," and provide your name, an address where you can receive mail, and indicate which application(s) you are requesting. If calling our toll-free hotline, please provide the same information.
Applicants are encouraged to complete and submit their applications electronically. Alternatively, you may print, complete by hand, and submit the application through traditional mail methods, i.e. USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc. Commission staff highly encourage applicants to obtain the necessary documents themselves due to these time constraints and due to our limitations to review and respond to voicemails and emails promptly. Applications will NOT be mailed unless explicitly requested.
For questions or inquiries related specifically to Alaska’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance relief please email AKCares@psmfc.org or call toll-free: (888) 517-7262. If you have the ability to email, you may receive a quicker response due to the large volume of calls anticipated to be received. Alternatively, you may reach out to ADF&G at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 465-6136.
• DO NOT email applications! Emailed applications will NOT be accepted!
• Applicants are responsible for uploading their completed applications to PSMFC’s ShareFile site or mailing through traditional methods, i.e. USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.
• Those choosing to upload their completed applications will receive a confirmation email. Please check your inbox as well as your spam folder. All successful uploads will receive an auto-generated confirmation email. If you did not receive a confirmation email, you did not successfully upload your application.
• Applicants should only submit through one method or another. Please do not upload and mail a hard copy; choose one method or the other. Multiple copies will only slow our efforts and delay issuing relief checks.
• PSMFC is largely unable to respond to requests for “has my application been received?” Applicants deciding to mail their applications are encouraged to pay for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. Those uploading to our ShareFile site will receive a confirmation email upon a successful upload.
Alaska’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid relief and economic security act AK Spend Plan
Alaska Commercial Harvester Sector CARES Act Application
Alaska Sport Fishing Charter Sector CARES Act Application
Alaska Seafood Processing Sector CARES Act Application
Alaska Aquaculture Sector CARES Act Application
Alaska Subsistence User CARES Act Application
Washington CARES Act Information
The application period has been extended for all sectors until 4/9/2021
Applications for Washington’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance are now available.
The State of Washington’s commercial fishing, shellfish, charter, and seafood industries are a vital part of Washington’s economic and cultural health, and the COVID-19 pandemic had severe impacts on these businesses and communities they support. Under Section 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), Congress provided $300 million to states, for distribution to fisheries participants, with Washington and Alaska receiving the highest allocation of $50 million each.
The Office of Governor Inslee developed a plan – consistent with the CARES Act – for distributing this funding with assistance from the Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife, Agricultural, Commerce, and the Washington Office of Financial Management. State officials met virtually with commercial fishers, shellfish growers and seafood processors to better understand the consequences of COVID-19 on the industries, coordinating with fisheries managers in neighboring West Coast states as well. The Governor’s office also convened discussions with the 24 treaty tribes to learn about their COVID-19 impacts to commercial, subsistence, cultural and ceremonial fisheries.
Up to $39 million is allocated to non-tribal commercial fishing, shellfish and charter industry members, with the remainder available to treaty tribal members for losses associated with commercial activities and any negative impacts to subsistence, cultural and ceremonial fisheries resulting directly or indirectly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOAA recently approved the Spend Plan, which allows the application period to begin. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is the fiscal agent to distribute CARES Section 12005 funds from NOAA Fisheries. PSMFC will review applications and disburse payments of approved claims to eligible applicants. It is anticipated that total claims will exceed available funds. If so, all disbursements will be scaled to available funds as described in Washington’s Spend Plan.
The deadline to postmark applications will be April 9th, 2021. If choosing to upload to PSMFC’s secure ShareFile site, the upload date must be on or before 5:00 PM (PDT) on 4/9/2021. Applications postmarked past 4/9 or uploaded after 5:00 PM (PDT) on 4/9 will not be entertained or processed.For questions or inquiries related specifically to Washington’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance relief please email WACares@psmfc.org or call toll-free: 1-866-990-2738. If you have the ability to email, you may receive a quicker response due to the large volume of calls anticipated to be received. Alternatively, you may reach out to the WA Dept. Fish and Wildlife at CARESfisheries@dfw.wa.gov. The PSMFC anticipates disbursements to begin sometime in May 2021.
***All Applicants Should Review the Spend Plan Prior to Filling Out the Application***
Washington’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid relief and economic security act WA Spend Plan
PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL APPLICATIONS. APPLICANTS ARE REQUIRED TO MAIL THEIR APPLICATIONS THROUGH TRADITIONAL METHODS, I.E. USPS, FED EX, UPS, ECT. OR UPLOAD TO PSMFC’S SHAREFILE SITE. THOSE UPLOADING TO THE SHAREFILE SITE WILL RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER AND INBOX. IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION EMAIL, PLEASE TRY AGAIN. IF ALL ELSE FAILS PLEASE MAIL THROUGH TRADITIONAL METHODS. APPLICANTS SHOULD ONLY SUBMIT A SINGLE APPLICATION, EITHER THROUGH TRAIDITIONAL METHODS OR THROUGH PSMFC’S SHAREFILE SITE. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT THROUGH BOTH. WE ARE ONLY REQUESTING A SINGLE SUBMISSION. IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT ONE METHOD OR THE OTHER, PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION IF SUBMITTING THROUGH SHAREFILE AND SHOULD PURCHASE DELIVERY CONFIRMATION OR TRACKING IF MAIING THROUGH TRADITIONAL METHODS. PSMFC CANNOT RESPOND TO INQUIRES FOR “HAS MY APPLICATION BEEN RECEIVED” DUE TO THE VOLUME OF APPLICATIONS FOR CARES ACT RELIEF.
WA CARES Act FAQ
Washington’s CARES Act Application
Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) CARES Act Information
Application materials are now available.
The application period for CNMI’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance is open. Applications must be RECEIVED by the CNMI Office of Grants Management by March 1st 2021.
CNMI CARES Act Application
Participant affidavit - Commercial Fisheries Activities
Participant affidavit - Subsistence Fishermen
CNMI’s Sec 12005 Coronavirus aid relief and economic security act CNMI Spend Plan
Guam CARES Act Information
Application materials are now available.
The application period for Guam’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance is open. Applications must be RECEIVED by March 31,2021.
The Guam Department of Agriculture (DOAG) Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR) submitted a spend plan to NOAA outlining the guidelines for distributing $988,803 in direct payments to eligible participants impacted by COVID-19 pursuant to the CARES Act Section 12005. Fishing related businesses eligible for assistance include commercial fishing businesses and charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, dealers, and other fisheries related businesses as allowable under Section 12005 of the CARES Act.
Completed application packets are due by March 31,2021 and must be submitted to the DAWR office or via email at email@example.com. No applications will be accepted after the due date. DAWR will notify applicants of deficient applications. Applicants will be given 3 business day to address deficiencies.
Applications packets are available at the DAWR office and on the DOAG website: https://doag.guam.gov/resource/
Guam’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid relief and economic security act GU Spend Plan
Guam CARES Act FISHERS Application fillable
Guam CARES Act FISHERS' Participant Sworn Affidavit fillable
Guam CARES Act Fishers' Form W-9 fillable
If you have questions, you can contact the following individuals:
Chelsa Muna-Brecht: Chelsa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Roberto: Frank.email@example.com
Cristian Cayanan: Cristian.firstname.lastname@example.org
American Samoa CARES Act Information
The application period for American Samoa’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance has CLOSED.
The application period for American Samoa’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance is now closed. Applications were required to be received by the DMWR on or before 4:00pm on 12/31/2020. .
Submissions will be accepted and stamped for verification purposes. Applications will be reviewed and ranked by a Review Committee based on the requirements listed in each sector section a participant is applying as. The participant can only apply under one sector for assistance. Required documents needed for submission are official documents issued by the government including ID’s, business licenses etc. DMWR will be able verify official stamps and signatures from relevant ASG issuing agencies.
• Call for Application: October – December 2020
• Application Review: December 2020 – January 2021
• Appeals Process and Response: January 2021
• Application Review process 22 business days after deadline
• Applicants have 7 business days from disapproved date to appeal.
• Appeal Review within 7 business days from date stamped received.
• Decision is rendered depending on review.
• Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
• All appeals should be addressed to DMWR Director
• Applicants have 7 business days from the date of application disapproval to respond in writing addressing reasons why application was disapproved.
• Appeals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
American Samoa’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security act AS Spend Plan
American Samoa CARES Act FISHERS Application
If you have questions, you can contact the following individuals:
Selaina Vaitautolu: email@example.com
Henry Sesepasara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawaii CARES Act Information
The application period for Hawaii’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance has CLOSED.
The application period for Hawaii’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance is now closed. Applications were required to have been RECEIVED by PSMFC no later than 5:00pm PST on 11/23. Checks were mailed on Thursday, December 24th. Letters informing applicants of disqualifications or ineligible applications are currently being drafted and mailed. If you have not received a check and applied, please email email@example.com.
The State of Hawaii fishing and seafood industries experienced severe economic hardship in the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of which are ongoing and need to be addressed urgently. On March 21st, the Governor issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers entering the state, which was extended to interisland travel on March 31st. Social distancing and “stay at home” orders further disrupted fishery business and practices, leading to decreased demand for fishery products and services, lost opportunity for fishing and many other impacts yet to be fully understood. Due to the severity of these impacts, both direct and indirect, upon the State of Hawaii fishery sectors, funds under Section 12005 of the CARES Act will be made available to fishery participants.
NOAA fisheries allocated $4,337,445 to eligible Hawaii fisheries and aquaculture businesses. The State of Hawaii developed a spend plan for eligibility and claim requirements consistent with the CARES Act after significant industry participation. NOAA recently approved the spend plan, which allows the application period to begin.
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will be reviewing applications and disbursing payments of approved claims to eligible participants. Each applicant must complete an application worksheet (which includes affidavit language) and a W-9 form showing their 35% loss of revenue due to COVID-19 during February 1 through September 3, 2020 over the course of at least four consecutive weeks compared to the prior 5-year average (22015-2019).
Hawaii’s Sec 12005 Coronavirus aid relief and economic security act HI Spend Plan
Oregon CARES Act Information
The application period for Oregon’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance has CLOSED.
Checks were mailed on Friday, January 29th 2021. Please allow 2-3 weeks before inquiring as to the status of your check. Due to delays recently experienced by the USPS we anticipate the possibility of further delays; these are outside the control of the Commission. Letters will be mailed to applicants whose claims were disqualified or deemed ineligible. Final payments were scaled to just over 58% of original claims for the vast majority of applicants. Total claims amounted to ~$48.5 million dollars. Imposing the maximum claim/payment lowered this to ~$31.2 million dollars. A total of ~$18.3 million was available amongst all sectors and claims (of which $2.5 million was provided by the State of Oregon). The average of the top 10 highest claims was ~$3.5 million. Imposing the maximum claim reduced this to ~$2.8 million. Many applications (+90%) had errors or omissions which caused significant delays in processing as each applicant needed to be contacted and given one week to remedy issued identified while processing applications.
Fishing businesses are a vital part of Oregon’s economic and cultural health, and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a serious toll on these businesses and the communities they support. Consistent with Section 12005 of the federal CARES Act, NOAA Fisheries allocated nearly $16M to eligible Oregon businesses participating in marine and/or anadromous fisheries. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife developed a Spend Plan for eligibility and claim requirements consistent with the CARES Act after extensive input from the fishing industry. NOAA recently approved the Spend Plan, which allows the application period to begin.
In recognition by coastal legislators and other state leaders that these federal funds would be unlikely to address all of the COVID-19 impacts to Oregon’s fisheries industry, an additional $2.5 million of state CARES Act relief funds were distributed by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to PSMFC for support. PSMFC will distribute the funds as supplemental payments to recipients of the federal CARES Act funds that were distributed directly to the PSMFC by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Eligibility and claims for these funds will generally follow the same requirements and timelines as the $16 million, which is outlined in Oregon’s Spend Plan and application materials.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is the fiscal agent NOAA Fisheries Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for Oregon for both the federal and state funds. PSMFC will review applications and disburse payments of approved claims to eligible applicants. It is anticipated that total claims will exceed available funds. If so, all disbursements will be scaled to available funds as described in Oregon’s Spend Plan. The PSMFC anticipates disbursements to begin sometime in September 2020.
“Marine and anadromous fisheries are vital to the economic and cultural health of the state. We know businesses on the front lines of these fisheries are hurting, and we hope these federal and state funds will help provide emergency relief for some of the pandemic’s impacts this past spring. We encourage all eligible fishery businesses to apply,” says Ed Bowles, Fish Division Administrator for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Oregon’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security act OR Spend Plan
California CARES Act Information
The application period for California’s Sec. 12005 CARES Act Fisheries Assistance has CLOSED.
Applications were required to be postmarked by September 8th 2020 for participation. Distribution of payments were mailed on Friday, November 6th 2020 to the address listed on your submitted W-9 form. Please allow 2-3 weeks before inquiring as to the status of your check. Significant delays have recently been observed with the USPS.
California Fisheries Relief Funding Available for Select Sectors Affected by COVID-19
Coastal and marine fishery participants - including licensed commercial fishermen, fish buyers, aquaculture businesses, charter boat owners and guides - who have experienced a loss of income due to the effects of COVID-19 may be eligible for federal relief funding disbursed through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package provides direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses that have been impacted COVID-19. About $18 million in CARES funding was earmarked specifically for fisheries assistance in California.
CDFW estimates that there are more than 11,500 potentially eligible applicants for this funding, including individuals who work in the offshore, shoreside, aquaculture, commercial passenger fishing vessel and guide sectors.
Eligibility will be based on, among other things, a minimum 35 percent loss of fishing related income due to COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020. Applicants must also submit documentation demonstrating active involvement in a qualifying sector.
PSMFC will mail claim forms to all potentially eligible applicants to the address on file with CDFW. Forms and documentation must be returned within 30 days to be eligible for disbursement. Following the close of the 30-day response period, final disbursement totals will be calculated and relief checks will be issued to qualified applicants. CDFW is requesting all potentially eligible applicants update their address on file by Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Address verification instructions are available:
CARES Act Fisheries Relief for California
California’s Sec. 12005 Coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security act CA Spend Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who should affected fishermen and communities contact about accessing this funding?
A. Fishery participants eligible for funding—including Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses—should work with their state marine fisheries management agencies (see above table for key state contacts along the West Coast and Pacific Territories) or Tribe to understand the process for applying for these funds.
Q. Can eligible fishery participants receive direct payments?
A. Direct payments are expressly allowed under Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act. The Commission’s grant application must meet the requirements of the CARES Act and reflect the appropriate use of funds and considerations as outlined in the Request for Applications, the Request for Applications letter and the allocation table provided.
Q. How long will it take for affected fishermen to get funding from the CARES Act?
A. There are a number of steps in the process that need to occur before fishermen will begin to receive funds. First, states will need to develop spend plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance. These plans will include a time period for economic losses, and a method for assessing financial impacts to industry members and/or sectors. States will not be able to provide funding for potential future losses; they will need to wait for losses to occur in order to provide financial assistance to fishermen. Once state spend plans are approved by NOAA Fisheries, money can begin to be disbursed. The CARES Act also allows the funds to be awarded on a “rolling basis,” allowing for a portion of the state’s funds to be distributed in the short term with additional funds to be distributed at a later date based on future losses.
Q. What types of fishing-related businesses are eligible for assistance?
A. For the purposes of carrying out the provisions in Section 12005 of the CARES Act, “fishery-related businesses” primarily include commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and dealers. States and Tribes have the discretion to determine whether marine bait and tackle operations and marine gear and vessel suppliers are eligible for Sec. 12005 assistance in their spend plans, consistent with the requirements of the CARES Act. Businesses farther down the supply chain—including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers—are not considered “fishery-related businesses” for the purposes of this funding.
Q. Which Tribes are eligible for assistance?
A. The definition of “fishery participant” identified in Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act, includes Tribal fishery participants. So, Tribes in coastal states with marine or anadromous fisheries and/or marine shellfish or finfish aquaculture operations are eligible for Sec. 12005 funds. Tribes in non-coastal states with freshwater fisheries will not be eligible for Sec. 12005 funds.
Q. Which types of aquaculture operations are eligible for funding?
A. Privately owned aquaculture businesses growing products in state or federal marine waters of the United States and the hatcheries that supply them are eligible for Sec. 12005 funding. This includes all molluscan shellfish and marine algae. Non-salmonid marine finfish grown in marine waters not covered by USDA are also eligible for Sec. 12005 funding.
Q. On what basis did the agency make the initial allocation decision? What data did the NOAA Fisheries use for the initial allocation decision?
A. To allocate the Sec. 12005 funds, NOAA Fisheries used a methodology that met our overriding goal to distribute the Sec. 12005 funds as quickly as possible while accounting for regional variability in the size of commercial, charter, seafood processors and dealers, and aquaculture industries.
Given the definition of “fishery participant” identified in Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act, NOAA Fisheries used readily available total annual revenue information from the commercial fishing, charter fishing, aquaculture, and seafood-related businesses of coastal states, Tribes, and territories to proportionately allocate the Sec. 12005 funding. NOAA Fisheries also took into consideration negative impacts to subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial fisheries during the allocation process.
NOAA Fisheries used readily available multi-year averages to estimate the total average annual revenues from commercial fishing operations, aquaculture firms, the seafood supply chain (processors, dealers, wholesalers and distributors) and charter fishing businesses from each coastal state, Tribe, and territory.
In general, NOAA Fisheries used a 5-year average of annual commercial fishing revenues as a baseline for this sector. Available multi-year averages of aquaculture revenues were also captured in the estimates of average commercial fisheries revenues.
Average annual landings revenue data from Alaska, New England, and Mid-Atlantic states were adjusted to attribute landings in those regions to a vessel owner’s state of residence to better reflect where fishing income accrues. These adjustments were made by determining the proportion of landings in a particular state attributed to vessel owners residing in another state and distributing revenue accordingly. A similar adjustment was also applied to at-sea processors on the West Coast but was not applied broadly to other fisheries on the West Coast or Pacific Islands, Southeast, and Gulf of Mexico fisheries, because comparable state-by-state vessel ownership data was not readily available. In addition, because those regions represent a relatively small proportion of the nation’s total commercial fishery landings revenues and are smaller in scale relative to Alaska fisheries and the West Coast at-sea processors, adjustments in those regions would not significantly impact the overall allocation across all applicable states, Tribes, and territories.
Average annual value-added estimates from the seafood sector (i.e., processors, dealers, and wholesalers/distributors) were calculated using NOAA Fisheries’ Commercial Fishing & Seafood Industry Economic Impact Model while Alaska and West Coast value added estimates were calculated from regional models. Multipliers were applied to commercial fishing and aquaculture operations revenues to account for the value-add generated by these components of the seafood supply chain (e.g., processing crabs into crab meat). A multiplier was also applied to available multi-year averages of Tribal and territorial commercial fishing operations to account for commercial, subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial fisheries. Furthermore, a 5-year average of for-hire angler trip expenditures was used to calculate average annual for-hire fishing revenues.
There are some exceptions where a multi-year average across all states was not available (e.g., select shellfish aquaculture) or the sources of data for an individual state or territory varied from the general data streams described above (e.g., based on data availability, for-hire revenues in Hawaii and Alaska were obtained from cost-earnings studies rather than angler expenditures.)
In addition to allocating the funds proportionately based on readily available total average annual revenue data, NOAA Fisheries established a minimum and maximum funding level that each state and territory received ($1 million and $50 million, respectively).
Q. Who will be responsible for determining if fishery losses exceed the 35 percent standard and applying for assistance?
A. Given the broad range of fisheries and entities affected across multiple jurisdictions, it will be important to provide states flexibility in determining how they will identify which fishery participants meet the requirements described in Sec. 12005(b)(1)-(2). Thus, each state/Tribe will be required to determine how they will verify which fishery participants meet the threshold of economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial fisheries. The spend plans will provide details on their proposed process for making these determinations.
Q. What are the next steps? When and how do Sec. 12005 funds get to the recipient?
A: NOAA Fisheries is currently working to execute and distribute the fisheries assistance funding provided by Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act as expeditiously as possible, while ensuring the proper level of executive oversight of these appropriated federal funds.
NOAA Fisheries is using the Sec. 12005 allocations to make non-competitive grant awards to the Interstate Marine Fisheries Commissions (Commissions), U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Between now and the start of the grants, states, Tribes, and territories will be working to develop their respective spend plans for the funding they will be receiving.
Each state will develop a spend plan that determines how it will verify which fishery participants meet the requirements described in Sec. 12005(b)(1)-(2) (i.e., economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial fisheries). States will submit their spend plans through their respective Commission for NOAA’s approval. Spend plan submissions and approvals will occur on a rolling basis. This step in the process takes time as each state will have its own process for spend plan development. There are also special considerations that Commissions and states need to take into account, such as potentially staggering the disbursal of funds within their spend plans to account for different fisheries, fishing seasons, and industry sectors.
Once NOAA Fisheries approves a state spend plan, it anticipates the Commissions will disburse the payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of the states unless otherwise specified by the state. This will allow the Commissions to distribute the assistance to eligible fishery participants at the earliest date possible.
Q: How will Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 funds be taken into account with respect to Section 12005 CARES Act funds?
A: Any funds received by individuals or businesses under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, should not be included in the determination of whether an individual or business had a greater than 35% revenue loss compared to the previous 5-year average under Section 12005 of the CARES Act. Any funds received from CFAP 2 should be included in the determination of whether an individual or business has been made “more than whole” as CFAP 2 is coronavirus-related aid. Therefore, consistent with our previous guidance, under Section 12005 of the CARES Act, NOAA is requiring fishery participants receiving Section 12005 CARES Act assistance to affirm that they are not making themselves “more than whole” as a result of the combination of financial assistance from Section 12005, other programs in the CARES Act (e.g., Payment Protection Program, CFAP 2), and their traditional revenue stream as compared to their total average annual revenue from the previous five years.
Q: What about residents who are not licensed in our state?
A: Generally speaking, as required by the Request for Assistance letter, individuals are expected to apply in their state of residence. Individuals who are residents of a state who did not receive CARES Act Section 12005 assistance, but who hold a valid permit in a state that did receive Section 12005 funds, may be eligible in the state they are permitted in, depending on the eligibility criteria established by that state in their spend plan. In developing the state-specific allocations of Section 12005 CARES Act funds, NOAA made a home-porting adjustment to commercial revenue to attribute revenue to an individual’s state of residence as opposed to where they land their fish based on the data NOAA had available. Therefore, non-resident, commercial fishermen should not be eligible for funds unless they are a resident of a state that did not receive an allocation under Section 12005 of the CARES Act. Likewise, a resident who lands fish elsewhere is still subject to this residency requirement. It is up to the states to determine the document(s) they will require to determine eligibility of fishery participants and if the state will allow state residents to apply who have Federal permits only or are permitted only in other states. Given the nature of aquaculture operations and processing/dealers, NOAA doesn’t anticipate there would be resident aquaculture and/or processor/dealers who would be permitted only in another state. With respect to the charter for-hire sector, there is flexibility for a state to allow non-residents to be eligible in the state they are permitted in. In all the above scenarios, the requirements of the CARES Act still apply (e.g., must have greater than 35% revenue loss compared to previous 5-year average, cannot be made more than whole).
Q: How will NOAA define if an entity is made “more than whole”?
A: Under Section 12005 of the CARES Act, NOAA is requiring those receiving assistance to affirm that they are not making themselves “more than whole” as a result of the combination of financial assistance from Section 12005, other programs in the CARES Act (e.g., Payment Protection Program), and their traditional revenue stream.
In general, Section 12005 of the CARES Act does not preclude recipients of other Federal assistance from accessing Sec. 12005 funds. However, there are several conditions that must be met in order to be able to receive both Sec. 12005 funds and other federal assistance. While fishery participants that are eligible for Sec. 12005 funding may also apply to other federal assistance under the CARES Act or other federal programs, they should not apply to other federal programs for assistance to address the same impacts resulting from COVID-19. For example, fishery participants could seek assistance to cover lost revenues from multiple programs, but if one program covers all lost revenue, they should not apply to another program to cover those same losses. Finally, individuals receiving federal assistance through multiple avenues, including Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act, cannot receive assistance above their total average annual revenue from the previous five years.
Q: Does the SBA Payroll Protection Loan disqualify me from applying for the CARES Act Fisheries Assistance?
A: Receipt of SBA Payroll protection loan (e.g. Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or Paycheck Protect Program (PPP)) does not automatically disqualify you from applying for CARES Act Fisheries Assistance. However, you will need to self-certify that the sum of all CARES funding, any additional COVID-19 related federal financial aid (including SBA loans), and traditional revenue, including state unemployment, does not exceed the average annual revenue earned across the previous five years.
Q: How will the USDA’s tariff relief program impact CARES Act assistance?
A: NOAA will not consider funds provided to fishermen under USDA’s Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) in its execution of CARES Act fisheries assistance. The STRP program is unrelated to COVID: it addresses only industry impacts from retaliatory trade tariffs in 2019. As such, the STRP is providing assistance to fishermen based on landings in 2019. The CARES Act fisheries assistance is based on revenue losses in 2020. The requirement that eligible entities cannot be made “more than whole” is based on the combination of 2020 traditional revenue, Section 12005 assistance and any other COVID-19 related federal assistance.
Q: Can an approved spend plan be modified?
A: If a state with an already approved spend plan would like to amend its plan to allow residents who are only federally-permitted or are permitted only in another state to be eligible, it should contact NOAA Fisheries. An amendment to the spend plan can be done via email with NOAA approval. NOAA will continue to work with those who have draft spend plans to make any adjustments needed as the states' finalize their plans.