Update on CARES Act funding for Hawai‘i’s commercial fishing industry – June 12

Updated June 12, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) recently passed by Congress includes an allocation of $300 million for fisheries assistance. The funding is to tribes, territories, and states, including Hawai‘i, with coastal and marine resources.

DAR is responsible for developing a spend plan for Hawai‘i’s portion of the allocation.  This plan must be reviewed and approved by NOAA fisheries before funds can be released.  Funds will be administered through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), which will assist DAR and NOAA in reviewing applications for assistance and issuing checks to eligible participants.  

Q. How much CARES Act money will Hawai‘i receive?
A. Hawai‘i’s allocation is $4,337,445.  NOAA tax assessments have reduced this to $4,288,881.

Q. Who is eligible?
A. Participants eligible for assistance include commercial fishing businesses, charter fishing operators, aquaculture operations in marine waters, wholesale seafood dealers and processors, and subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial fisheries.

Q. What’s the process moving forward?
A. DAR is in the process of talking with various stakeholder representatives and fishery managers to get input on the most equitable way to distribute funds. At the same time, DAR is gathering economic data on the various fishery sectors to inform this effort.

Q. What is the timeline for distributing payment?
A. Applications will likely be available in August.  Payments will be made after the close of the application period, likely in October or November.

This announcement will be updated as more information becomes available.