WDFW seeks input from fishing industry on $40 million in relief spending

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking feedback from commercial fishers, shellfish growers, charter boat owners, seafood processors and members of the public as it develops a spending plan for $40 million in federal relief funding for industry members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding is part of an additional $255 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding approved by the U.S. Congress that followed an initial $300 appropriation, of which Washington state received $50 million, last summer. The current allocation includes $30 million for all federally recognized tribes in coastal states and the Great Lakes and $15 million for Great Lakes states.

“We’re thrilled to be able to begin the process to provide another round of relief funding distributed to support commercial seafood, charter and shellfish aquaculture industry members here in Washington state,” said Ron Warren, WDFW fish policy director. “We applaud our federal leaders for relentlessly championing this funding. As we develop a fair and balanced plan to distribute this funding, it’s critical that we hear from industry members most impacted by the pandemic.”

In coordination with the Governor’s Office, WDFW will be working with the state departments of Agriculture and Commerce to develop criteria for receiving funding assistance based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) guidance.

Once developed, Washington will submit its plan to NOAA fisheries for approval, and then to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to manage the application process and distribute funds.

To learn more and provide feedback, industry members are invited to tune in to an online public meeting at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 8: https://zoom.us/j/96045781724

For more information on how to participate and to find call-in details, visit wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/commercial/federal-disaster-assistance/cares-act. The meeting will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meetings afterward at their convenience.