Oregon fisheries, related businesses hit by Covid-19 to get US$16 million relief

Nearly US$16 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding will be made available to marine-related and coastal fishery businesses in the state of Oregon that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (ODFW) confirmed on Thursday, May 14.

The ODFW will be the lead state agency working with fishery participants to coordinate aid.

Fishery participants eligible for funding from the CARES Act include commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. It does not include businesses farther down the supply chain (including vessel repair businesses, restaurants, or seafood retailers), though these businesses may be eligible for other CARES Act aid.

Tribal fisheries will also be eligible for CARES Act aid but through another allocation and process not coordinated by ODFW.

The development of spending plans will not begin until after further guidance, criteria, and application materials are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. The PSMFC will then work with the ODFW and affected parties to develop spending plans consistent with the CARES Act and NOAA’s guidance.

All spending plans must be approved by the NOAA before funds can be distributed.

The CARES Act requires distribution of funds no later than September 30, 2021. However, ODFW hopes that Oregon’s spending plan and applications can be submitted to the NOAA by early fall this year to begin the approval and disbursement process.

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