Grant program will aid seafood processing sector

The 300-foot at-sea processor C/P Starbound. Photo courtesy of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association

A grant program of the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development will distribute $30.6 million to Alaska’s seafood processing sector, including those who are processors of shellfish.

DCCED Commissioner Julie Sande announced the new grants on Monday, March 21.

The program application period runs from April 5 through May 5. Award amounts will be determined after all applications have been received and evaluated on demonstrated need. Qualification does not guarantee an award, and proration of final award may be necessary due to demand.

“Seafood processors operating in Alaska incurred substantial costs to comply with local, state, and federal COVID-19 mitigation policies in order to continue operations throughout 2020 and 2021,” Sande said. “By distributing these federal funds quickly through the Alaska Seafood Processors Pandemic Response Relief Program, we can provide critical assistance to an industry that is a vital component of Alaska’s economy and food security network.”

The grant program will be open to holders of seven seafood and shellfish processing permit types issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation who incurred costs to prevent exposure to and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic from Jan. 27, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021. Expenses that will be considered range from workplace safety measures, retrofitting facilities, transportation and worker housing to medical expenses. Companies holding more than one eligible processing permit may combine expenses for multiple operations into a single application,

More information on this program, including eligibility criteria, is on the DCCED website at commerce.alaska.gov/web/AlaskaSeafoodProcessorsPandemicResponseReliefProgram.aspx.