Maine is launching a $16 million pandemic relief grant program for seafood dealers and processors to cover business expenses and investment in technology and infrastructure.

The program is a component of the governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, investing federal American Rescue Plan Act funds in Maine people and businesses. Of the nearly $16 million offered through the program, $10 million comes from the Rescue Plan, $5 million from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, and $850,000 from the USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program.

The grants are being administered by the Maine Technology Institute for the Department of Marine Resources and are open to anyone who held a license as a wholesale seafood dealer, lobster processor, seaweed buyer, worm dealer or elver dealer on April 1, 2020.

They may be used to cover business expenses such as payroll costs, rent or mortgage payments for facilities, utilities payments and replenishing inventory; to invest in ways to mitigate pandemic-related market disruptions; to purchase personal protective equipment or for other operating expenses.

“Maine seafood dealers and processors are key to our state’s coastal economy, providing thousands of good-paying jobs in one of our most iconic industries and generating billions of dollars in economic activity for Maine,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “My administration will work hard to help them not only recover from the pandemic but also make needed investments that will position them for success in the future.”

Applications for the program will be accepted from Friday through April 28. More information is available on the Maine Technology Institute’s website.

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