Building upon prior efforts authorized in 2020, NOAA Fisheries announced the allocation of additional fisheries assistance funding provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This follows the completion of Oregon's distribution process from relief funds provided in the first round of the CARES act, which resulted in payments totaling about $18 million to marine-related and coastal fishery businesses. This total included $2.5 million provided by the State of Oregon. The federal allocation to Oregon for round two totals $13 million.
ODFW will continue to act as the lead State agency to coordinate distribution of this federal aid. Eligibility criteria will be similar to round one, and will 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 federal aid.
Tribal fisheries will also be eligible for CARES Act aid but through another allocation and process not coordinated by ODFW. Oregon must first develop a spending plan for approval by NOAA Fisheries. "This spending plan will build upon the plan used in round one, with improvements to streamline the process and address some eligibility problems identified in round one," said Chris Kern, ODFW Fish Division Deputy Administrator.
ODFW will host a public virtual meeting in the near future to gather feedback and address questions and concerns. The meeting date and time will be announced via a later news release. ODFW's CARES webpage at www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CARES/index.asp will also be updated as more information becomes available. Those who are interested in learning more about this funding are encouraged to subscribe to the page to receive email updates. Additional information will also be posted at www.psmfc.org as it becomes available.
Questions and concerns can also be sent to ODFW.CARESact@odfw.oregon.gov