A plan to strengthen and grow Maine’s marine economy received a boost with a $2 million federal grant.

The money, matched by $522,250 in local investment, will help address vulnerabilities and develop a plan to sustain and grow the workforce in the state’s marine industries. Other goals include market development, new opportunities and emerging technologies, according to a statement released Wednesday by the grant’s lead applicants, Maine Technology Institute and FocusMaine.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is providing the funding over a three-year period and drawing from a $600 million aid package for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

“Maine’s marine economy is an engine that has powered our state for generations, and we are committed to supporting its continued success,” read a joint statement from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden. “Building on our traditions of the past, industry leaders are working to create new, sustainable opportunities that will maximize the benefits of our vast marine resources. This funding from the EDA will support those industry-led efforts to foster innovation and adaptability, and improve current and future workforce needs, which are needed now more than ever to help this vital sector weather the coronavirus pandemic and future challenges.”

The initiative, called Maine’s Marine Living Resource Economy, is modeled after the state timber industry’s collaborative effort called Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine. Local investment comes from MTI ($286,834), FocusMaine ($102,416), Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center ($25,000) and industry partners ($108,000).

 

 


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