[July 27, 2018]
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife submitted a letter to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission requesting the distribution of funds in a manner deemed equitable by the vast majority of participants on their 7/18 call.
DFW proposes to allocate 89% of funds to the fishing industry; 1% to PSMFC administrative overhead; 10% to reinvestment including a competitive grants program for research to benefit the fleet and its ability to withstand toxic algal blooms in the future.
In response to the large-scale impacts of domoic acid in the California Dungeness crab and rock crab fisheries during the 2015-16 fishing season, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) allocated $25.8M in disaster relief funds to the state of California. The Department is the entity responsible for determining how those funds will be allocated and must submit a proposal through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), to NOAA by July 20 on how those funds will be spent. Based on initial feedback from the fleet including the California Dungeness Crab Task Force, and in compliance with NOAA’s guidelines (here), the Department is developing a draft proposal for how to distribute those funds. Included are some options that seek to meet the unique needs of both the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries, assist the fishing communities affected by the 2015-16 disaster, and take steps in mitigating future domoic acid disasters for the future economic and environmental sustainability of the fishery.
The draft options will be shared online early next week and will contain high-level concepts to inform the proposal to NOAA. Verbal comments on the draft options can be delivered via a webinar that will be held from 9:30am-11:30am on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
[July 3, 2018]
Now that the Department of Commerce has completed its ‘spend plan’ that determines how much each qualifying fishery shall receive, the State of California must determine how the funds will be allocated. They will need to determine how much is split between the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries, between fishermen, processors, and other businesses, and by what factor(s) an individual’s qualifications will be determined. These could include license tier, historic landings, or some other factor. No decision has yet been made on this issue.
CDFW may soon convene one or more public meetings or conference calls with fishermen, port associations, and other businesses to discuss these allocation questions. No dates or structures for these calls or meetings has been determined at this time.
When the allocation decisions are finalized, CDFW will submit a ‘funding algorithm’ to NOAA and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC). PSMFC will then use its database, if appropriate, to determine how much each qualifying individual or business shall receive, and it will send checks to those individuals or businesses.