The commercial fishing industry is working around the clock with community leaders, state officials and healthcare professionals to set safety plans for the upcoming fishing season. Commercial fishermen take their role as food providers within Alaska’s mandated critical infrastructure very seriously. We are dedicated to safe, responsible seafood businesses, fishing communities and the essential workforce keeping our food system intact. We will share more information as it develops and wish you the best as you prepare for the coming season.

UFA Letter to the Fleet *NEW*

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These are the most current mandates the Governor has issued.  All Alaskans must comply.  Commercial fishermen are considered an “essential service”, but there are steps you will need to take to comply with the mandates.  Please read carefully for instructions.


 

Watch Previously Recorded UFA Webinar: UFA Webinar: Q&A Session for Updates to Mandates 10 & 17
Recorded on: May 27, 2020 *NEW* 

 

Watch Previously Recorded UFA Webinar:
Understanding Health Mandate 017: Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels.
Recorded on: April 29, 2020

 

Health Mandate 017: Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels

The purpose of this Mandate is to enact protective measures for independent commercial fishing vessels operating within Alaskan waters and ports in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

For the 2020 season, each independent vessel captain must sign the Health Mandate 017 Acknowledgement Form (Appendix 02) prior to actively participating in the 2020 commercial fishing season. This form will indicate that the captain and owner will comply with the Mandate.

Please Note: This mandate does not address shore fisheries or open-top skiff fisheries.  Procedures for those fisheries will likely come in the form of a Health Alert and will follow.

*NEW* Click Here: COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine and Independent Commercial Fishing and Tender Operations Protective Plans (Updated: 5/16/20)


International and Interstate Travel – Order for Self-Quarantine – Mandate 10

All people arriving in Alaska, whether resident, worker or visitor, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for illness. Arriving residents and workers in self-quarantine, should work from home, unless you support critical infrastructure  (see Attachment A).


Social Distancing – Mandate 11

All persons in Alaska, except for those engaged in essential health care services, public government services, and essential business activities, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing. For the purpose of this mandate, social distancing is defined as maintaining a distance of six feet or greater from any individuals with whom you do not currently reside.


Intrastate Travel – Mandate 12

The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the importance of minimizing intrastate travel to avoid introducing new COVID-19 cases into Alaska communities and slow the spread of the virus in state. It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.

Commercial fishermen are included in “Alaska’s Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure”. You must SUBMIT A TRAVEL PLAN or PROTOCOL for maintaining critical infrastructure to akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com. The plan should outline how you will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger the lives of the communities in which you operate, of others who serve as a part of that infrastructure, or the ability of that critical infrastructure to function. If you have already submitted a plan pursuant to Health Mandate 10.1 related to interstate travel, you do not need to submit another plan.

Updated: May 26, 2020

 

 

 

Updated: April 29, 2020

Note: These are draft guidelines developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders in order to assist companies in developing their own internal procedures.
It is not intended as a standard of care or as an industry standard.

COVID-19 Assessment of Symptomatic Crew Flowchart
COVID19 Assessment of Symptomatic Crew Flowchart v1.8 (April 20, 2020)

 

Updated: April 29, 2020

*NEW* DCCED: Division of Economic Development Investments

Payment Difficulties

The Alaska Division of Economic Development – Investments (DED-Investments) is prepared to work with existing borrowers who may experience economic hardship related to COVID-19. DED-Investments has experienced staff specifically trained to understand the fishing industry, and they are equipped with the tools to assist affected fishermen.

DED-Investments’ approach is to work closely with individual borrowers to craft solutions that work best for each individual borrower. Solutions are pursued on a case-by-case basis, as each borrower’s circumstances are different.

If you are experiencing economic hardship or have any questions, contact the DED-Investments and ask to speak to a loan officer. The officer will explain all available options and provide as much assistance as necessary to find a solution.

DED-Investments staff can be contacted at (907) 465-2510, 1-800-478-5626 (toll free), or financing@alaska.gov.

 

Financing Options

The Alaska Division of Economic Development – Investments (DED-Investments) continues to administer the Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan Fund (CFRLF) during the declared COVID-19 disaster. In addition to the purchase-type loans available, loans can also be made to reimburse funds for previous purchases made for fishing operations. More information about the CFRLF can be found here.

DED-Investments also administers several other revolving loan funds for the State of Alaska that are designed to work with small businesses, including loans for working capital.

Links to the small business loan funds that allow loans to be made for working capital:

More information on all active loan funds currently being administered by DED-Investments can be found on our website at: DED-Investments Loan Funds.

DED-Investments staff can be contacted at (907) 465-2510, 1-800-478-5626 (toll free), or mailto:financing@alaska.gov.

 

State of Alaska Unemployment Insurance

The State of Alaska is now allowing 1099 employees to apply for unemployment. Alaska’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program is dedicated to providing unemployed workers fast and accurate payment of UI benefits. With the seasonal nature of much of the state’s workforce and Alaska’s vast remoteness, UI benefits serve not only to bridge the economic gap for the individual worker, but also as a stabilizing influence on local economies.

More information and Application

Support for Alaska’s Fishermen

In addition to the Paycheck Protection Program and the expanded unemployment insurance, both of which are available to Alaska’s fishermen, the CARES Act also appropriates $300 million in direct assistance for commercial, charter, and subsistence fishermen, processors, fishery dependent businesses and coastal communities. This assistance is structured similar to fishery disaster payments, but the delivery of the funds will be quicker by allowing the money to be awarded on a rolling basis, even while a season is still underway, and forgoing the usual requirement for the Governor to declare a disaster.

 

SBA Loans

Disaster assistance low-interest loans to address COVID-19 impacts for businesses up to 500 employees, up to $2 million per business, with relaxed collateral requirements (yes, fishing and seafood processing qualify).  APPLY ONLINE HERE.

Please Note: This is the first round of SBA loans to go out to small businesses and they are encouraging everyone to apply ASAP.  SBA only has about $7 billion available for these loans and their intention is to approve them and send funds electronically as quickly as possible.  A second round of loans will be issued under the $2 trillion CARES Act that is still working its way through Congress.

 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The PPP offers $350 billion in low-interest loans to small businesses, implemented through the Small Business Administration’s flagship 7(a) program and local Alaska banks and credit unions. These loans have a maximum of $10 million, are 100% federally guaranteed, and forgivable for the 8-week period after origination to the extent they are used for certain qualified expenses—including payroll, family or sick leave, health care benefit payments, retirement payments, mortgage interest, rent, utilities. The calculation of the loan amount for each borrower is equal to 2.5 times the average monthly wages from the previous year subject to the $10 million cap.

The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reductions in an employer’s payroll during the 8-week forgiveness period, in order to provide the maximum incentive for businesses to retain their workers. Importantly, for those small businesses that have already been forced to lay off workers, the CARES Act allows them 30 days from enactment for the borrower to return to February 15 payroll levels without a forgiveness penalty.

At the end of the 8-week forgiveness period, the borrower will provide to the lender documentation that verifies their qualified forgivable expense payments. The lender then reports their expected loan forgiveness amount for a loan or pool of loans to the SBA, and the SBA will purchase that amount of the loan from the lender.

Eligible small businesses for the PPP benefit are those with less than 500 employees or otherwise considered as a “small business concern” according to the SBA. Eligibility is also expanded to include the self-employed, sole-proprietors, certain non-profits, and tribal businesses.

The goal of the PPP is to maintain the employer-employee relationship, enabling small businesses and the economy to bounce back faster once the pandemic has passed.

Instructions How to Apply for PPP & FAQs

 

Income and Payroll Tax Relief

Payroll taxes can be deferred until the end of the year for entities that do not participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. Half of the deferred amount would be due in 2021, with the other half due in 2022. The IRS and the Treasury Department have deferred the filing and payment date for federal income taxes until July 15, including for corporate, partnership, and S-corp income.

 

Expanded Unemployment Insurance

The CARES Act provides $250 billion in expanded unemployment insurance to be delivered through state unemployment offices. Benefits are expanded to individuals who are unable to work due to the coronavirus. Importantly, the bill also expands benefits to those who are traditionally not eligible, such as the self-employed, those with limited work history, and independent contractors, including Alaska’s fishermen.

 

Updated: April 21, 2020