COVID-19 Resources for the Seafood Industry
With an abundance of caution, Washington State government has made health and wellness a priority given the he COVID-19 outbreak. Washington’s commercial fishing fleet has been deemed essential, thanks to their role in bringing local seafood to dining room tables throughout the state. But commercial fishing has still been severely hampered by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has interrupted global trade, making it difficult for commercial fishers and shellfish growers to export their catch to other countries. Closer to home, the local markets are also severely impacted by the reduced access to consumers via closures of restaurants, casinos and other businesses.
Below is a list of resources for Washington Commercial Fishers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Washington State Resources
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: WDFW is working with commercial fishers to get them the permits they need to harvest and sell their catch directly to consumers and retailers here in Washington.
- WDFW is also working with commercial fishers to issue both limited fish seller endorsements and fish dealer licenses. The limited fish seller endorsement will allow commercial fishers to access customers directly, selling their product off the docks or at local farmers markets and the fish dealer license will allow them to sell to restaurants or stores. This effort will help keep fishermen in business, supply food to the public, and provide a lifeline until markets improve. For more information contact the WDFW Licensing Division at 360-902-2464 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Washington Sea Grant: Resources for the shellfish industry.
- Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual: A guide for selling your product direct to consumers by Washington and Alaska Sea Grants.
Other Washington State and Regional Resources
- Washington State Department of Agriculture: Resources to help small farm and food businesses.
- Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission – PSMFC Fisheries Disaster Programs: Information on distribution of disaster funds/ 2020 funds still to be posted — check back periodically.
- Representative Derek Kilmer’s office and other Congressional Representatives in coastal districts are posting information relating to COVID-19.
- Washington State: COVID-19 Resources, which include the following:
- CDC Employer Guidance
- OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Guidance
- L&I Prevention of COVID-19 in Agricultural and Related Industries
- WA DOH COVID-19 Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations
- WA DOH Food Worker and Establishment Guidance on COVID-19
- WA DOH Recommendations to Protect Critical Infrastructure Workforce during COVID-19 Pandemic
- WA DOH Employee and Visitor COVID-19 Screening Guidance
- You and Your Family: Mental and Emotional Well-Being Resource
- National Sea Grant Resources: Pertinent and timely information and resources to the U.S. seafood industry – both wild harvest and aquaculture.
- National Sea Grant Law Resources: Economic injury and disaster loans, payroll protection SBA.
- Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and Regional Food System Partnerships Program: USDA has extended these programs so they are accessible to fishers looking to develop local supply chains and market their catch directly to consumers.
- Federal funds (article in Fishermen News): $300 million in funds available through September 2021 to tribes, fishing communities, fishing businesses, aquaculture businesses, subsistence, ceremonial and charter fisheries. Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and more information: Snyder@mail.house.gov. Note: Additional funds may become available in a second relief package.
- NOAA Fisheries website: COVID-19 outbreak and CARES Act information.
- Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission: COVID-19 resource guide for Columbia River Fishing Access Site Residents and Tribal Fishers.
- United Fishermen of Alaska: Covid-19 outbreak resource.
- Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute: Additional information and resources on Covid-19 for the seafood industry.