Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Relief programs for fishery and other businesses

On Tuesday August 4th, 2020, Sand Point Radio KSDP General Manager Austin Roof interviewed officials regarding two COVID-19 relief programs.
At 11AM Austin had on ADFG Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang and Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker on the CARES Act funding for Alaska Fishery Participants. That interview can be found archived here: https://apradio.org/mp3-interview-with-commissioner-vincent-lang-and-deputy-commissioner-rachel-baker-from-the-alaska-department-of-fish-and-game/. A guidance document on the program can be found here: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/news/hottopics/pdfs/cares_act_guidance_062420.pdf
At 2PM Tuesday Austin interviewed Small Business Administration District Director John Veal on the Paycheck Protection Program. That interview can be found archived here: https://apradio.org/mp3-interview-with-district-director-john-veal-of-the-small-business-association-regarding-the-paycheck-protection-program/


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Payments for 2016 Pink Salmon Fishery Disaster Delayed

By Sarah Lapidus

Kodiak Daily Mirror, seafoodnews[dot]com 11/20/19
Fishermen who were expecting payments from the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery disaster relief in December will have to wait until March to receive their checks, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Many Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission permit holder applicants misreported their crew percentages or did not list any crew at all, said Karla Bush, the Fish and Game federal fisheries coordinator.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will delay payments until after the crew member application deadline on Jan. 31.
"I know participants were expecting checks to come six to eight weeks after the Oct. 31 deadline. That's now going to be pushed back," Bush said.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is an interstate agency that helps resource agencies and the fishing industry manage fisheries resources. Member states include Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
After crew members send in their applications, Fish and Game will match crew members to the permit holders they work for. Payments will be sent to permit holders and crew at the same time, Bush said.
Payments to crew will be deducted from the permit holder's total disaster payment based on the crew shares provided in the permit holder's application.
The amount each permit holder received was calculated by averaging the value of pink salmon caught in even years from 2006 to 2014, minus the value of fish caught in 2016.
However, fishermen were concerned that the payment calculation did not take into account the unique circumstances in the fishing industry.
For example, some fishermen switched from a lower volume gear type to a higher volume gear type. Others had a partial catch history instead of a full or no catch history, causing their payments to be substantially less than others who fished alongside them, according to a letter written by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.
To address such issues and review calculations, an appeal process was put in place. Friday was the deadline to appeal.
These payments are part of the $53.8 million approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in July to restore losses caused by a poor 2016 salmon season in the Gulf of Alaska. The areas receiving funds are Kodiak, Prince William Sound, Chignik, Lower Cook Inlet, South Alaska Peninsula, Southeast Alaska and Yakutat.
Fishery permit holders and crew will receive $31 million, fish processors will receive $17.7, municipalities will receive $2.4 million and $3.63 million will go to research.
The payments to municipalities will be based on losses of fish taxes, Bush said.
Calculations for municipality payments are not yet available because NOAA is working the office of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on the approval process.
Municipalities will use the funds for specific projects related to the pink salmon fishery such as projects that support the pink salmon fishing fleet.
"The people at NOAA grants are trying to work with the office of OMB in the White House to see at what level the projects need to be approved," Bush said. "OMB wants to approve the list of projects that each municipality will put forward themselves. We know that that will cause some additional delays, so we hope those will be approved by Pacific States or NOAA grants and not have to be forwarded all the way to the highest level."
Fish and Game is also waiting on fishery tax information from the Alaska Department of Revenue as a basis to calculate the payments, Bush said.
The tax information is vital before calculating the payment amount, because the Department of Revenue does a "split between the cities and boroughs and so I would expect the city of Kodiak and the Kodiak Island Borough would be getting a share of those moneys," Bush said.
To expedite future fisheries disaster funding, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, sponsored legislation that would reform NOAA's Fishery Resource Disaster Relief program of the National Marine Fisheries Service to expedite relief for fishermen during fishery disasters.

Friday, August 9, 2019

2016 GOA Pink Salmon Disaster Funds Update


On Monday August 5th, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) updated the published information related to the process to disperse fishery disaster funds for the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pink Salmon Season.

PSMFC expects to send applications to impacted Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) Limited Entry Salmon Permit holders and impacted processors by mid-August. These applications will be due back to PSMFC by October 31. Payments are expected to be sent out 6-8 weeks after the application period. 


CFEC limited entry permit holders that meet the following criteria will be eligible for a payment:

  • Must have held a CFEC permit card for salmon in 2016
  • Must have fished for pink salmon  in 2016,
  • CFEC permit holders in the South Alaska Peninsula area must have documented ADF&G fish ticket landings equal to or greater than 1,000 pounds of pink salmon landed in 2016.
  • Must have a demonstrated loss of 2016 pink salmon ex-vessel revenue compared to their average pink salmon ex-vessel value during the most recent five even years from 2006 through 2014 as calculated from ADF&G and CFEC landings and value data.

Crew members for the 2016 salmon fishery identified as fishing crew by an eligible permit holder will be eligible for payment if the permit holder is eligible to receive a disaster payment. Disaster payment applications will be sent to eligible crew members after October 31, 2019. The application deadline for crew members will be January 31, 2020.



 A total of $1.7 million will be available for payments to impacted South Peninsula fishermen. Details can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document posted on the PSMFC website Fishery Disaster Programs page.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

AEB Fishermen's Meeting & WGOA Trawl Outreach DELAYED until 4PM

The Aleutians East Borough Natural Resources Department (NRD) will host a fishermen's meeting Wednesday July 24th, 2019 delayed until 4 PM, teleconferenced with the King Cove Harbor House, Sand Point Borough office and the Anchorage Borough office. This meeting will feature outreach to WGOA trawl stakeholders by ADFG Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker and ADFG Extended Jurisdiction Program Manager Karla Bush calling in from Juneau. NRD Director Ernie Weiss will be in Sand Point for the meeting; NRD Assistant Director Charlotte Levy will be in Anchorage for the meeting due to a flight cancellation. The revised meeting agenda can be found here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Update on GOA Pink Salmon Disaster Funds

Hello, I wanted to pass along a few updates on the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon disaster funds.

  1. NOAA has approved approximately $54 million in disaster funds spending for research and direct payments to CFEC permit holders, crew and processors. The funds will be transferred to Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission). The Commission has established a fisheries disaster web site athttps://www.psmfc.org/fishery-disaster-programs. This site is the best source of information about the funds distribution process and timeline, please monitor the site for updated information.

  1. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will be mailing disaster funds payment applications directly to affected CFEC permit holders and processors. CFEC permit holders will be required to submit the names and addresses of each crew member on their application and Pacific States will send a separate application to those crew members. Applications must be completed and returned by the deadline to receive a payment. The application period will accommodate the summer fishing season.

  1. To help ensure that CFEC permit holder applications are mailed to the correct address, permit holders may wish to verify the current mailing address on record with CFEC:https://www.cfec.state.ak.us/plook/#permits

If a correction is needed, submit the following address change form to CFEC:

  1. We are making good progress to find a method for distributing direct payments to eligible municipalities. The Pacific States web site will be updated with information as soon as it is available.

I hope you all have an enjoyable 4th of July holiday.

Rachel Baker
Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Natural Resources Assistant Director to travel to Sand Point

Aleutians East Borough Natural Resources Assistant Director Charlotte Levy will travel to Sand Point Alaska  to observe the ADF&G Shumagin Islands Section immature salmon test fishery scheduled for July 3rd. Charlotte also plans to be at the AEB Sand Point office for the Special Assembly meeting scheduled for July 2nd. Charlotte looks forward to talking with residents about fisheries and other Borough natural resources while in Sand Point.

From the South Alaska Peninsula Commercial Salmon Management Strategy, 2019; Regional Information Report No. 4K19-08:
"Immature Test Fishery
In order to assess the abundance of immature salmon and reduce incidental harvest ADF&G will conduct a purse seine test fishery in the Shumagin Islands Section in early July, before the post-June fishery begins. If 100 or more immature salmon, per set, are present, the commercial fishery will be closed to purse seine gear in an area to be determined by ADF&G (5 AAC 09.366(i)). For the purpose of this management plan, “immature salmon, per set, are present” is defined as the number of Chinook O. tshawytscha, sockeye, coho, and chum salmon that are observed to be gilled in the seine web (5 AAC 09.366(i)). Test fishing is standardized to purse seine gear, conducting two 20-minute sets at Popof Head, Middle Set, and Red Bluff located on Popof Island. The commercial fishery may be constrained based on the abundance of immature salmon observed during the test fishery. Gillnet gear is permitted to fish in these areas during the presence of immature salmon because the larger mesh size permits immature salmon to pass through the nets."