JUNEAU, Alaska — Established in 1951, during the 20th Territorial Legislature, and signed into law by Governor Ernest Gruening, the Alaska Fishermen’s Fund is the only pre-statehood dedicated fund still in existence today.
“Since inception, the Alaska Fishermen’s Fund has successfully stood the test of time and has benefitted thousands of injured mariners. It is exciting to recognize this unique Alaskan institution for 70 years of operation,” stated Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter.
Unique to Alaska, the Fishermen’s Fund was established to assist injured mariners who are not eligible for workers’ compensation programs due to restrictions in federal law.
In Alaska, most employees working for an Alaskan employer are provided certain benefits under the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act. However, federal law determines how an injured seaman receives work related benefits under general maritime law and the Jones Act. If injured in the course of maritime service, an injured seaman may legally pursue compensation and treatment under the Jones Act.
The Fund has remained true to its mission to provide emergency medical benefits to crewmen injured while commercial fishing in Alaska. Commercial fishing can be a hazardous industry and the Fishermen’s Fund remains committed to meeting the needs of injured commercial fishermen. In 2010, the benefit limit per injury/illness increased from $2,500 to $10,000 and in 2020, time to seek initial treatment was extended from 90 days to 120 days.
Benefit resources are financed by a percentage of commercial fishing licenses and permit fees collected.
Crewmembers must have a valid commercial fishing license or limited entry permit before the time of the injury. If you are an injured Alaska commercial fisherman, you may qualify for benefits. The Fishermen’s Fund can provide medical compensation for the following costs:
- Medical treatment visits
- Transportation costs related to medical care and treatment