COVID-19 Updates

Update as of May 18, 2020

Important recent COVID-19 information to help you navigate this pandemic.

HEALTH SAFETY

        1. Health Mandate 10 – Appendix 1 – Enhanced Protective Measures for Seafood Processing Workers: The State of Alaska revised Health Mandate 10 on May 15th, to include Appendix 1 – Enhanced Protective Measures for Seafood Processing Workers, which strengthens the 14-day mandatory quarantine. Also, the 14-day mandatory quarantine for people traveling to Alaska in Mandate 10 was extended from May 19 through June 2nd. Read the revised Mandate 10 here.
        2. Health Mandate 17 – Appendix 2 – Revised: The State of Alaska revised Appendix 2 – Acknowledgement Form, which is required to be signed by fishermen, provided to seafood processors prior to selling fish, and copies carried onboard all fishing vessels this year. Please be sure to print and sign the updated version of this form.
        3. Flyer from UFA/PSPA – MESSSAGE TO THE FLEET: Feel free to broadly distribute this flyer, created by a partnership between UFA and PSPA. UFA will also be printing 1,000 hard copies for posting in communities, harbors, vessels, etc. You can contact UFA if you would like a hard copy.
        4. How to Purchase PPE: The Alaska Manufacturer’s Extension Partnership (MEP) is connecting companies manufacturing PPE in Alaska to companies needing to purchase PPE in Alaska. See flyer for more information.
        5. Helpful Industry Websites with COVID Info:
        6. National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Sitrep #44

    ECONOMICS

        1. PPP loans still available: As of May 15th, $100 billion is still available in the PPP loan program. In this video, Senator Dan Sullivan explains a bit about the criteria that allows businesses to have the loan forgiven.
        2. Looking for Crew in Alaska? The Alaska Dept. of Labor’s Seafood Employment Office at the Anchorage Midtown Job Center can help you. See information sheet. Or call 907-269-4746, or email.
        3. Governor Dunleavy’s 6-Point Plan: Governor Dunleavy created the Alaska Economic Stabilization Team (AEST) and appointed previous Governor Parnell and Senator Begich to lead the group. Documents and recommendations from the AEST are posted here, and Governor Dunleavy’s 6-Point Plan can be read here.

    Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe. 


    Update as of May 7, 2020

    More important recent COVID-19 information to help you navigate this pandemic.

    HEALTH SAFETY

          1. Health Mandate 10 – To Be Revised for Seafood Processors: The State of Alaska has signaled that it will be revising this mandate to strengthen the quarantine requirements for seafood processing workers. Specifically being discussed are several options for implementing 2-3 required tests during the 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming seafood processing workers from out-of-state. Additionally, workers will not be allowed to work during quarantine, unless they have a job which can include social distancing at all times. Details are likely to also take on a regional approach. The state committed to furthering discussions in regional working groups, prior to issuing the final revisions. Regional discussions are happening in PWS today, Bristol Bay on Friday, the Aleutians on Tuesday, and Southeast on next Thursday. Stay tuned for more.
          2. “This is not business as usual”: UFA President, Matt Alward, writes a letter to the commercial fishing fleet.
          3. UFA webinar with state clarifications on Health Mandate 17: watch the recorded webinar which summarizes and answers fishermen’s questions related to Health Mandate 17Appendix 1 – Alaska Protective Plan for Commercial Fishing Vessels, and Appendix 2 – Acknowledgement Form; also keep checking for updates to Mandate 17, which we will also email out through this list; the state anticipates making small changes to both documents.
          4. National Fisherman webinar with Dr. Ann Jarris: watch the recorded webinar with Dr. Ann Jarris of www.DiscoveryHealthMD.com and also access additional materials and info related to safe vessel procedures.
          5. Info Packet for Fishing Vessel Owners: Useful information related to health mandates compiled and provided by Ocean Strategies and the Under 60 Cod Harvesters.
          6. How to Purchase PPE: The Alaska Manufacturer’s Extension Partnership (MEP) is connecting companies manufacturing PPE in Alaska to companies needing to purchase PPE in Alaska. Also, see flyer here for more info.
          7. ARTICLE: Seafood processing worker is Cordova’s first positive coronavirus case.
          8. Helpful Industry Websites with COVID Info:
          9. National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Sitrep #38.
    1. ECONOMICS
        1. Commerce Secretary announces allocation of $300 million CARES Act funding for fisheries: The short summary is that Alaska will receive $50 million, plus $1 million for Alaska Tribes. The US Dept. of Commerce will send the funds to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), which will in turn work with the state and Tribes on a spending plan.
        2. Looking for Crew in Alaska? The Alaska Dept. of Labor’s Seafood Employment Office at the Anchorage Midtown Job Center can help you. See information sheet here. Or call 907-269-4746, or email.
        3. Recommendations from the Alaska Economic Stabilization Team & Governor’s 6-Point Plan.
        4. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program opened back up for agriculture/aquaculture – see news release.HIGHLY SUGGEST any business involved in aquaculture in Alaska submit an application for the $10,000 advance payment. You should receive $1,000 per employee, up to $10,000, deposited directly to your bank account which will be forgiven (turned into a grant) even if you do not take any other additional loan through this program.
        5. Survey reveals challenges to mariculture industry: Alaska Sea Grant recently surveyed the Alaska mariculture industry to shed light on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on their businesses in February and March. Survey respondents reported that revenue was down, with 43 percent reporting losses of more than half of their revenue. More than a third had laid off employees. See the full story here.
        6. Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness & Economic Growth: Today, the White House announced signature by the President of an Executive Order on “Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth”. This has been in development for the last couple of years, and as such addresses certain challenges that pre-date COVID-19. To be clear, this is not specifically intended to address COVID-10 impacts, but it may provide policy support in other ways to help some sectors of our industry. See announcement from NOAA here. To summarize the EO:
        • Easing regulatory burden: Directs the Councils to work with the Secretary of Commerce to recommend actions to reduce federal burdens and restrictions on domestic fishing. This is not limited to fisheries management plans, but could include other restrictions related to MPAs, monuments, protected species, competing uses, etc. Any recommended changes must be consistent with existing law.
        • Combatting IUU: Directs NOAA to issue proposed rulemaking further implementing the UN FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU fishing. Key agencies shall collaborate to encourage partnerships on maritime domain awareness, cooperate on at-sea transshipments, and law enforcement; they shall also prioritize training and technical assistance to combat IUU fishing.
        • Aquaculture: Directs interagency efforts to cooperate on streamlining processes and propose a potential national aquaculture permit for public comment (consistent with existing law), addressing finfish, seaweed, and multi-species. The Secretary of Commerce would lead an effort to identify aquaculture opportunity areas, in coordination with state and tribal governments. The National Aquaculture Development Plan and the National Aquatic Animal Health Plan will also be reviewed and potentially updated.
        • Seafood Trade: To promote fair and reciprocal trade, within 30 days there shall be an 12-member Interagency Seafood Trade Task Force, co-chaired by Commerce and USTR. Within 90 days, the Task Force shall provide recommendations to USTR on ways to improve access to foreign markets and resolve technical barriers. Within 90 days after that, the USTR shall submit to the President a comprehensive seafood trade strategy.

        Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe. 


        Update as of April 23, 2020

        More important and recent COVID-19 information to help you navigate this pandemic.

        1. Health Mandate 17: Today, the State of Alaska issued Health Mandate 17 – Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels. The mandate is comprised of two parts:
        2. National Fishermen Webinar Materials: In case you missed the webinar hosted by National Fisherman, Developing Vessel Procedures and Performing Symptomatic Crew Assessment in the Midst of COVID-19, below are the post-webinar materials:
        3. UFA Webinar – Understanding Health Mandate 17 – Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels: UFA will host this webinar on Wednesday, April 29, 10am AST. The purpose of the webinar is to explain Mandate 17 and answer questions from participants.  Panelists will include:  Tom Koloski (Alaska United Command), Jason Wiard (Environmental Health Officer, DEC), Charles Pelton (Alaska Unified Command), and John Moller (Commercial Fisheries Policy Advisor, Governor Dunleavy). You must register prior to the webinar. See the UFA update email to register.
        4. Looking to hire deckhands from Alaska? The Alaska Dept. of Labor can help!  See email for more info (thanks to UFA!.)

        Update as of April 21, 2020

        More important and recent COVID-19 information to help you navigate this pandemic.

            1. Free Webinar hosted by National Fisherman, Wed., April 22nd at 7am AST – Developing Vessel Procedures and Performing Symptomatic Crew Assessment in the Midst of COVID-19: National Fisherman held a free webinar to help commercial fishermen with the management of COVID-19 on their vessels. COVID-19 has and will continue to reshape the way entire industries function, and commercial fishing is no different. Dr. Ann Jarris and the Discovery Health MD Team has put together a COVID-19 Vessels Procedures and Flowchart for Assessing Symptomatic Crew document to help commercial fishing captains and companies develop protocols for dealing with COVID-19 on vessels and with their crew. While it is not intended as a standard of care or as an industry standard, it can be a resource to help captains and crews determine how to best move forward. Join Ann Jarris, MD, MBA, FACEP as she explains how this resource can help crews work through these challenging and rapidly developing issues. Live audience questions were answered toward the end of the event and a Q&A page will be made available. View recording here.
            2. Vessel Health Mandate: The state will issue a vessel mandate this week. It is 12 pages long and includes an Acknowledgement Form for signature. We will post the final version once released.
            3. NEW – State of Alaska website for COVID-19.
            4. NEW – ASMI website for Food Safety & COVID-19.
            5. NEW – AFDF website for COVID-19 Updates.
            6. NEW – UFA website for COVID-19 Info.
            7. ARTICLE – Commercial fishing industry in free fall as restaurants close.
            8. ARTICLE – As Alaska fishing season set to begin, fearful communities and seafood industry try to prevent spread of coronavirus.
            9. NFI COVID Sitrep #25 – email from National Fisheries Institute (NFI) with additional info, resources and tools for the seafood industry which is updated regularly.

        Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe. 


        Update as of April 13, 2020

        AFDF is providing a sampling of the most important recent COVID-19 information to help you and the Alaska seafood industry navigate this pandemic. Please see below.

            1. Amendments to Health Mandate 10: The Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order (formerly Attachment A to Health Mandate 10) was amended on Friday. It has yet to be posted on the new consolidated state website here: https://covid19.alaska.gov/
            2. Amendments to Health Mandate 12: The Alaska Small Community Emergency Travel Order (Attachment B to Health Mandate 012) was amended Thursday night. There are several key issues addressed in this revision: a) The definition of “Hub Hospital” was clarified in Paragraph I; b) Fisheries Industry personnel were added to the list of persons which the Small Communities cannot ban from entry in Paragraph II.b.v.; Paragraph II.d. lists several measures that Small Communities may enact for fishermen, plant workers and fisheries companies. Bottom line for our for our Commercial Fishermen: The Small Communities cannot keep your workers out. Bottom line for our Small Communities: You may enact a number of additional protective measures which commercial fishermen and plant workers must follow.
            3. Vessel Health Mandate – coming soon: The state will be issuing a vessel mandate this week for independent fishing vessels. The state is taking one final round of input from communities and industry before finalizing. The last draft I saw is 4 pages long, with Dr. Jarris’s full guidelines as an attachment, and will require an affidavit to be signed by the vessel owner. Stay tuned for the issuance of this mandate later this week.
            4. Instructions for Creation of Protective Plans: The state now has posted guidance and CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS for companies that are required to submit a protective plan to the state. This is extremely helpful for anyone who submitted a plan under the previous 24-hour turn-around deadline, or for anyone who still needs to create and submit a plan. The state is currently working through plans that have already been submitted and will either accept them or require changes to make them compliant with these instructions. Afterward, the plans will be forwarded to the communities in which the company will be working.
            5. Progress with Testing & Screening: We received positive news about a collaboration between UW and other medical professional to provide testing as an additional screening tool to the seafood industry (see link to article below). The fishing industry needs to have access to PCR testing in May and June for workers traveling to Alaska. They should be prioritized, because it is a large group of people from a geographically diverse area that will be working in close contact in remote areas with few medical facilities. The Alaska fishing industry is critical for the US food supply, public health as Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of a healthy diet, and a large contributor to the economy. REMEMBER – testing will NOT replace the 2-week quarantine. The 2-week quarantine is still the best tool we have to prevent the introduction and spread of disease, and testing is another screening tool, but this is no way relaxes any guidance on the mandatory 2-week quarantine. Next, medical professionals will be designing a testing and screening strategy that ideally incorporates PCR and serology tests twice during the quarantine period. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/uw-medicine-small-business-amazon-combine-to-airlift-key-testing-swabs-from-china-in-coronavirus-fight/.
            6. NEW – State of Alaska website for COVID-19
            7. UFA website for COVID-19 Info
            8. NFI COVID Sitrep #19 – email from National Fisheries Institute (NFI) with additional info, resources and tools for the seafood industry which is updated regularly.

        Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe. 


        Update as of April 8, 2020

        AFDF is providing a sampling of the most important recent COVID-19 information to help you and the Alaska seafood industry navigate this pandemic. Please see below.

            1. Catcher & Tender Vessel Procedures – Dr. Ann Jarvis of www.DiscoveryHealthMD.com worked with fishing industry representatives on a comprehensive procedures manual for catcher and tender vessels. This manual is being distributed to industry, communities, and the Alaska’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC is considering developing a baseline version of this manual which is mandated by the state for all vessels. Stay tuned for more information about this potential new state mandate about vessels. Here is a set of checklists that are intended to accompany this manual.
            2. Alaska Manufacturers to Produce PPE – The University of Alaska’s Manufacturing Extension Project (MEP) is working with manufacturers in Alaska who are interested in converting their production capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in Alaska. MEP staff is helping to coordinate companies who need PPE and companies who can supply it. Samantha Lewis and Alyssa Rodrigues are the points of contact. Pass this information to your procurement departments and contact MEP if you have PPE needs. Also, feel free to pass this information on to others in the seafood industry or at the local level (healthcare clinics or municipalities).
            3. Alaska Small Community Requirements – In Health Mandate 12, which restricts intrastate travel to critical workforce or critical personal needs, the Governor also gave the authority to communities that meet the “Small Community” criteria to make additional health mandates/restrictions (see Attachment B). Since this time, the cities of CordovaCraig (Harbor Quarantine Policy), and Wrangell have either adopted additional restrictions/requirements, or are considering them. Remember to check with ports prior to arrival about port-specific requirements or restrictions related to COVID-19.
            4. UFA website & resources – United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) has created a section on its website with important updates and information.
            5. Alaska Small Business Development Center – Visit this website for information about the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 Disaster Assistance Loans, and an overview of the CARES Act, and links to the Payment Protection Program (PPP) which provides loans to small businesses for up to $10 million to cover payroll and other operating expenses. Up to 8 weeks of payroll and some other operating expenses may be forgiven if small businesses were harmed between Feb. 15 and June 30, 2020.
            6. Cloth Face Coverings – The state adopted Health Alert 10, Cloth Face Coverings, and the EOC specifically alerted the seafood industry of the following:  “While the State of Alaska is developing further guidance regarding face masks, please direct all of your crewmembers and plant workers in transit via passenger air (chartered or commercial) to wear a cloth face covering. This face covering should be worn while transiting air terminals (to be temporarily removed for security screening), while on the plane, and any follow-on ground transportation until they reach their self-quarantine facility (bunkhouse, vessel or private lodging). This guidance is not a State Mandate yet, but air carriers may deny individuals from boarding without a face covering, and local authorities may not allow disembarking passengers to transit the community without one.
            7. Alaska’s Congressional Delegation Speaks to UFA – Listen to the audio recording of a question and answer session with the UFA Board of Directors and Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Young.
            8. Alaska COVID relief – SB 241 – In the final version of this bill (SB 241), the Alaska Legislature did NOT include $1,000 to each resident who qualified for a 2019 PFD. You can read the bill and attachments here.
            9. Alaska Health Mandates and Health Alerts – This is the main webpage for the State of Alaska’s health mandates and alerts. Any new information will be posted here.
            10. Crew Training Video – This is a well-executed video, shot on a vessel: Coronavirus: How to Beat it. This is a good tool for crew training. And its free!
            11. NFI COVID Sitrep #16 – attached email from National Fisheries Institute (NFI) with additional info, resources and tools for the seafood industry which is updated regularly.

        Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe, or there will be pressure to restrict or shut down our industry, as we are already seeing in Bristol Bay. If anyone in our industry acts irresponsibly, it will negatively affect our entire industry.  

        Please also support the organizations that help support your companies both in times of crisis and every day of the year.


        Update as of March 27, 2020

        AFDF is providing a sampling of the most important recent COVID-19 information to help you and the Alaska seafood industry navigate this pandemic. Please see below.

        Please remember, it is our industry’s responsibility to protect our workforce and the communities in which we live and work. Coastal communities are struggling with hard decisions about how to protect their residents and we need to all work together to demonstrate our industry’s willingness and ability to keep everyone safe, or there will be pressure to restrict or shut down our industry. If anyone in our industry acts irresponsibly, it will negatively affect our entire industry.

            1. UFA email & resources – This is an excellent summary of much of the important information from this week.
            2. COVID-19 Pandemic Action Plan – Under Sixty Cod Harvesters – Brett Veerhusen allowed AFDF to share the attached template plan that his organization completed on behalf of the Under 60 Cod Harvesters, with the caveat that it may not be perfect and it may need to be changed. Thanks for sharing, Brett! This might give smaller vessels and associations an idea of what might work for them. Additionally, Dr. Ann Jarvis of www.DiscoveryHealthMD.com is working on a procedures manual for small vessels that should be available next week.
            3. Online training Video – This is a well-executed video, shot on a vessel: Coronavirus: How to Beat it. After you preview the video, they give you the option of getting a copy if you reach out to Seagull Maritime (a maritime training company based in Norway) by providing all your contact information. If you request it, you will get a reply from Videotel (sister company) and have to answer a few questions, but will also get an official link and permission to download the video for unlimited usage for vessel deckhand training (or any other use). This is a good tool for crew training. And its free!
            4. 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 only online here. Here is a PowerPoint with more information.  IMPORTANT: this is the first round of SBA loans to go out to small businesses and they are encouraging everyone to apply ASAP. I believe 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. See more info about that in #5 below.
            5. CARES Act – $2 trillion disaster assistance package – this will include the $300 million for the fishing industry, $1,200 per person checks, plus additional loans through SBA. This second round of SBA loans includes a provision to forgive “up to 8 weeks of payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest payments”, as the funds are intended to keep people working as much as possible. For more detail on all of the different provisions, see attachment “Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Summary – FINAL”. IMPORTANT: this package has not fully passed Congress yet, so it may change somewhat.
            6. Alaska COVID relief  – The Alaska Legislature is currently working on a bill to provide resources for relief. Besides providing $1,000 to each resident who qualified for a 2019 PFD, we do not yet know what will be in the package, but we should know more next week. The Legislature is expected to recess this weekend, but passed a resolution which allows to call themselves back into session prior to May 1st to complete additional work if needed.
            7. NFI COVID Sitrep #6 – Attached email from National Fisheries Institute (NFI) with additional info, resources and tools for the seafood industry which is updated daily.

        Please remember to support the organizations that help support your companies both in times of crisis and every day of the year.