Alaskan fishing boat

Alaskan fishing boat

(The Center Square) – “The check is in the mail” for Alaskan fisheries approved for the first round of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

Eligible participants should receive their checks in a few weeks, the ADF&G said in a news release Wednesday.

Alaska received $50 million of the $300 million of CARES Act funding set aside for the U.S. fisheries industry. The approved Alaskan applicants will split $49,371,189 of the funds after administrative costs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received $349,700 for the “assessment on federal grants," the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission received $201,121 for administrative fees and ADF&G received $68,900 in administrative fees, according to information on ADF&G’s website.

Alaska’s fishing industry experienced losses because of decreasing demand and lower wholesale prices. The number of nonresident fishing license sales dropped 54% from Jan. 1, 2020 to Oct. 15, 2020, resulting in $9 million in losses, the ADF&G said.

The CARES Act funds are awarded to businesses that show a 35% or greater loss compared to their five-year average or show that COVID-19 had a negative impact on subsistence, cultural or ceremonial fishers, according to ADF&G. About 59.3% of Alaska’s fishery business is in the seafood sector with 35.2% of revenues coming from commercial fishing and aquaculture, according to the NOAA.

More relief is on the way from another $255 million allocated in March 2021. Alaska will receive $40 million of those funds, according to the ADF&G. Eligible businesses include commercial fishermen, charter businesses aquaculture operations, cultural or ceremonial fisheries, processors and other fishery-related businesses, according to NOAA. Applications will be likely be accepted sometime in mid-January.

Associate Editor

Kim Jarrett's career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.