Over 100 Maine seafood dealers and processors awarded more than $15 million in grants

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT
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TRENTON, Maine (WABI) - More than 100 Maine seafood dealers and processors have been awarded more than $15 million in grants through the Seafood Dealer and Processor COVID-19 Response and Resilience Program.

Businesses in every coastal county received awards, with more than half them coming in at over $115,000.

Gov. Janet Mills made the announcement of $15 million in grants to local seafood dealers and processors at Hollander & de Koning, a six generation, family owned and operated shellfish company in Trenton.

The company is a grant recipient, and has recently purchased a machine that will bag mussels in small quantities, allowing them access to being in grocery stores as well as restaurants.

“It’s a very expensive machine for a family run business. And actually, starting next week, we’re going to be in most of the Hannaford stores around. We’re going to be shipping mussels for over 150 Hannaford stores in the Northeast,” said de Koning, Hollander and de Koning owner.

The program draws $10 million from the Maine Jobs Plan, $5 million from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, and $850,000 from the USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program.

“We can’t forget the lobster fishing industry and the mussels and efficient seafood industry that is so vital to our legacy, our culture, our family support, and our community supports,” said Mills.

The goal of the funding is to help increase the supply of Maine-harvested seafood and strengthen the ability to deliver to markets.

“We were definitely tight with a pandemic the way it was, but we were just in this having this growing pains where we needed a little bit more equipment, and it’s worked out since then. We’re really grateful to have it,” said Joanna Fogg, Bar Harbor Oyster Company owner.

“This $15.2 million is going to this sector to help them recoup some of the expenses that they incurred over the past couple of years and make the necessary investments to move this sector of the industry forward,” said Jeff Nichols, Maine Department of Marine Resources communications director.

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