Department of Marine Resources
Urgent investment in Maine's commercial seafood and aquaculture sectors is needed to respond to the severe economic disruption of COVID-19. Many seafood facilities were forced to reconfigure their space and product lines due to the pandemic, and thus far, no relief programs have helped mitigate those costs. Furthermore, the pandemic caused companies to delay investments that would increase resiliency to future market disruptions.
To support the recovery of Maine's iconic seafood industry, the Department of Marine Resources is establishing the $16 million Maine Seafood Dealer and Processor COVID-19 Response and Resilience Grant Program (SDPP). Program funds include $10 million announced last fall from the American Rescue Plan Act, allocated through Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, plus an additional $5 million from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, and $850,000 from the USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program.
The program, which was administered by Maine Technology Institute (MTI), launched in March 2022. It provided grants to Maine seafood dealers and processors to upgrade buildings, equipment, and utilities. These grants will bolster the ability of these businesses to deliver to markets across Maine, the United States, and the world, while also creating and sustaining jobs throughout the sector.