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USDA Awards $220K To Help MD Seafood Processors With COVID-19 Costs

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $220,000 to Maryland to help seafood processors offset costs associated with the pandemic, the federal agency said Monday.

"This funding for seafood processors and processing vessels will serve as a bridge, providing relief to an industry that was greatly affected by the pandemic as well as the resulting changes in consumer demand," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

Grant funding can be used to cover workplace safety measures, such as personal protective equipment, air filters and cleaning supplies; shifts to online sales and marketing; retrofitting facilities with walk-up windows, plexiglass, heat lamps and other equipment; worker housing; transportation costs and other expenses.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture will receive the grants and distribute them to operators in the state.

The USDA distributed nearly $50 million through the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program, with the bulk of the funding, nearly $31 million, going to Alaska.

Alaska is home to about 60% of the nation's commercial fisheries, according to the Resource Development Council, a trade group in the state.

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