CARES Act Fisheries Relief for California

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a commercial fisherman, fish receiver, licensed aquaculturist, or licensed guide. Do I qualify for these funds?

You may qualify, depending on whether you participated in commercial fishing related activities under a California license or permit and experienced at least a 35% loss in income due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Additional details will be provided when available.

When will applications be available?

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to revise the prior spend plan to be consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the CARES Act, and NOAA’s guidance. The spend plan must be approved by NOAA prior to applications being submitted. At this point, we anticipate that applications may become available around mid-July, 2021.

My commercial vessel registration lists family members and/or other business partners, and the vessel does not have any specific permits associated with it. Does everyone listed as owners on the commercial vessel registration need to sign the CARES Application even though we do not have any specific vessel permits in 2019?

Yes, everyone listed as owners on the vessel registration or any other permits needs to sign the application to receive funds.

What are the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020. This more than $2 trillion spending bill combines $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year and prevents a government shutdown.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package was designed to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The CARES Act provided direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserved jobs for American industries.

Fisheries Assistance

On March 29, 2021, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of an additional $255 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The funding will support commercial fishing and associated activities previously authorized under Sec. 12005 of the CARES Act. It will be allocated to states and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

On May 7, 2020, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the CARES Act to states, Tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who had been negatively affected by COVID-19. The State of California was allocated $18,350,586. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries used these allocations to make awards to partners, including the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC). Based on plans developed by each state, PSMFC disbursed the funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.

CDFW Spend Plan

CDFW will coordinate with the PSMFC, NOAA, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska to revise prior spend plans as soon as possible to be consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the CARES Act, and NOAA’s guidance. All spend plans must describe the main categories for funding, including direct payments, fishery-related infrastructure, and fishery-related education. The funding will address direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts to eligible fishery participants, including:

  • Commercial fishermen
  • Charter businesses
  • Qualified aquaculture operations
  • Subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial users
  • Processors
  • Other fishery-related businesses

Please direct inquiries to CDFW at CARESfisheriesInfo@wildlife.ca.gov.