Federal fisheries disaster assistance

2020 CARES Act Relief Funding for Commercial Fishing Industry Members 

Washington State received $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief funding for commercial fishing industry members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

View our CARES Act web page for more information. 

2013 Washington Fraser River (Non-Treaty) Sockeye Disaster Relief Funding 

In 2014, the Secretary of Commerce declared a fishery disaster as a result of the 2013 Fraser River sockeye fishery in Washington.  In 2019, NOAA notified the Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission (PSMFC) that around $19 million had been allocated to respond to a series of West Coast fishery disasters from 2013 to 2017, including $439,560 for the non-treaty Fraser sockeye disaster of 2013.  WDFW and PSMFC have developed criteria for eligibility and distribution of disaster funds for the 2013 Fraser disaster, with input from Puget Sound commercial salmon fishing industry representatives.

PSMFC mailed applications to eligible WDFW permit holders on Friday, July 24, 2020. The deadline for postmarking applications will be Saturday, September 19, 2020.  Eligibility was determined using the criteria below and applicable catch and licensing data.

Criteria for eligibility:

  • MUST have owned a Puget Sound Purse Seine (PS), Puget Sound Gillnet (GN), or Puget Sound Reef Net (RN) license during some portion of the period of potential Sockeye fishing 2013 in catch areas 7 and 7A (June 30 – August 21) and,
  • MUST have not waived your 2013 license prior to June 30, 2013 and,
  • MUST have had at least one commercial Sockeye landing in 2008, 2010, 2011, or 2012. *There were no commercial Sockeye opportunities in 2009.

Additional specifications:

  • Catch history belongs to the individual owning the license at the time of the catch. License holders will not be allowed to claim another person's catch unless it is included in a valid contract of sale. No two license holders can claim the same catch history. Within these restrictions, license holders who sold a license with Sockeye catch history may be able to use that catch history in the following situations: 
    • If a license holder sold a license with qualifying catch history prior to June 30, 2013, but purchased another license that provided the option to participate in the 2013 Fraser fishery (prior to August 21, 2013), their catch history from the license sold can be used in determining their eligibility for this program.
    • If a license holder owned multiple licenses during the base period, but sold one of those licenses prior to June 30, 2013, the catch history from the license sold can be used in determining eligibility for this program under the retained license. If the license holder had catch history on the license sold and, on the license, retained, either history can be used in determining eligibility, but they cannot be combined.

Distribution of funds:

WDFW Commercial License Holders who meet the qualifying criteria above and apply for disaster relief by the deadline, are eligible to receive funds.

  • Gillnet and Reef Net License Holders: Funds available to gillnet and reef net license holders will be divided equally among eligible license holders within each gear type.
  • Purse Seine License Holders: All eligible purse seine license holders will receive a base payment of $1,000. In addition to that base payment, the license holders will receive a payment based on their proportion of total purse seine catch during the base period, calculated according to the following formula:
    • Proportional payment = (a ÷ b) × c
      • a = Individual’s total sockeye catches from 2008-2012
      • b = Total 2008-2012 sockeye catch by eligible purse seine license holders
      • c = Total funds available for purse seine license holders after base payments

If you have not received an application and believe you are eligible, if you have questions about your eligibility, or have questions about your catch history, please email fishdisaster@psmfc.org or call toll-free: 1-866-990-2738.