Oregon’s application period for potential assistance for COVID-19 impacts to fishing-related businesses is now open and extends through Sept. 8, 2020. Background information, eligibility requirements and application materials can be found on the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission website https://www.psmfc.org/ All applications must be completed, signed and mailed to the PSMFC with a postmark no later than the Sept. 8, 2020 deadline.
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. ODFW 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 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, ODFW Fish Division Administrator.