COVID-19 has impacted Alaska fisheries recently, but for the most part, revenue losses came from lack of fish.
The action caps — at least for now — a six-year debate about curbing halibut bycatch in Alaska.
Applications will be accepted during a two-month window that opens March 1, and payments could come as early as June.
Not only were fishermen catching fewer fish, in many cases they were getting paid less for them. Processors faced steep bills for implementing COVID mitigation strategies, and the value of sockeye was the lowest it’s been in more than 10 years.
The state’s plan will likely be overseen by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. But Alaska officials and lawmakers have been pushing for the state to cut the checks directly.
Commercial longliners in Alaska can go fishing March 11 after all. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced March 3 that the start date for halibut and black cod fishing will be March 11. March 11 is the halibut fishing start date approved by the International Pacific Halibut Commission back in January. The National Marine Fisheries Service typically…