ADF&G releases updated draft of $50 million CARES Act fisheries relief spend plan

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:18 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is accepting public comment on the second draft of a spending plan to distribute $50 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds for fisheries relief.

The first draft, released last month allocated $16 million each to the commercial harvesting, processing and sport fishing charter sectors. The department planned to allocate $1.5 million for subsistence fishermen and $500,000 for aquaculture.

After one round of public comment, the department slightly decreased the allocation to the sportfishing charter sector and increased the amount allocated to the commercial harvesting and subsistence sectors.

“I think the primary theme running throughout the comments was again what we suspected -all fishery participants have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” ADF&G Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker said. “We have very limited information with which to allocate the funds in terms of the impacts of COVID. It’s different for individual sectors and for individual businesses within sectors.”

Baker says the allocation changes were in response to public comments, as were changes to residency requirements.

“What we’ve done here in the second draft is we are proposing consistent residency requirements for all sectors, in the sense that all Alaska residents are eligible for the section 12005 CARES Act funds. What we’re really talking about is if an individual is not a resident of the State of Alaska. And so non-residents are eligible to apply if they hold a State of Alaska business license issued by the Department of Commerce Community and Economic Development," Baker said. "The thinking there is given the different circumstances across businesses within sectors, that establishing your business in Alaska does tend to provide benefits to the state and establish your presence here, so we felt it was important to establish that requirement, that that sort of demonstrated participation in Alaska, and that requirement applies across all of the sectors.”

The second draft is open for comment until Nov. 15. Click here to read the full text.

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