Because of the pandemic, many businesses and industry were forced to adopt new restrictions and guidelines very quickly, including the aquaculture industry. But, thanks to AMS, some of those costs can now be addressed. Through the Agricultural Marketing Service Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program, another round of grants are available to seafood processors and processing vessels in Washington.
Washington State Department of Agriculture awarded over $600,000 in the first round. The intention of these funds is to provide relief for expenses associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including assistance with market pivots. The USDA awarded $2.4 million in funds to the WSDA to distribute statewide. WSDA is now accepting applications for the second round of grant distribution. The 90-day application period is now open, closing May 25.
Eligible expense categories to protect against COVID-19 include:
- Implement workplace safety measures
- Market pivots
- Retrofit facilities for worker and consumer safety
- Provide additional transportation options to maintain social distancing and worker and consumer safety
- Provide worker housing
- Provide health services
WSDA will announce awards in June 2023. Eligible businesses include those licensed to do business in Washington state and have a:
- 2022 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Dealer License; and/or
- 2022 Department of Health Shucker-Packer License; and/or
- National Marine Fisheries Service Catcher-Processor Permit or Mothership Permit.
Businesses must have had at least one of these licenses or permits between January 27th, 2020 and December 30th, 2021 to be eligible.
Eligible businesses must be a first receiver of fish or shellfish delivered into or raised in the state and be in the business of changing the physical condition of the product to make it suitable for human consumption, retail sale, industrial uses, or long-term storage, including cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, shucking, filleting, freezing, or rendering into meal or oil. The physical change must go beyond gutting, gilling, heading, or icing.
For more information on WSDA’s available grants, visit the WSDA Website.
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