Alaska Delegation Welcomes $30 Million to Support Alaska’s Seafood Industry, Help Recoup COVID-19 Losses

Today, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, welcomed a $30 million investment in Alaska’s seafood industry by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This funding, made available under the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program (SPRS), will help defray costs incurred by seafood processing facilities and vessels preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. $30,694,746 in support from the SPRS Program has been awarded to Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development to assist with the Alaska Seafood Processors Pandemic Response Relief Program. This SPRS Program is funded through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was supported by the Alaska Delegation.

“Alaska’s seafood industry—including the fishermen, seafood processors, and fishing communities—has been hard hit by the pandemic. Our seafood industry is one of the most important in Alaska, employing thousands, both directly and indirectly, and producing billions of dollars for our state’s economy. So it’s been my priority to support all those who rely on this industry. I am extremely pleased that Alaska has received the largest amount of funding in the country from the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program--$30.6 million of the $50 million that I worked to include in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “As our seafood processors, fisherman, and coastal communities continue to recover, I recognize the need for continued support—and want all Alaskans in the seafood industry to know that I will continue to fight for them.”

“Not everyone had the ability to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Sullivan. “Through the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, we all relied on hard-working individuals to catch our fish, pick our vegetables, process our food, make deliveries, and stock shelves. Seafood processors, in particular, had to undertake extraordinary measures with unexpected costs to keep our critical-infrastructure-designated seafood supply chain moving while also safeguarding their employees. I’m glad to see the Alaska delegation’s legislative efforts result in $30 million dollars being awarded to seafood processors in our state to recoup some of the substantial costs Alaska’s fishermen and processors incurred while mitigating the negative impacts of this pandemic. This critical support will help ensure Alaska remains the superpower of seafood.” 

"Like many other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic hit our fishermen and processors hard. When the virus first arrived, our seafood sector had to quickly pursue prevention and mitigation strategies to keep its workforce safe. While these efforts were crucially important, they undoubtedly racked up large bills for our seafood industry,” said Congressman Don Young. “The SPRS program provides needed funds to help this vital sector defray the costs incurred to respond to and prevent the spread of COVID-19. I proudly helped secure funding for this program in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, and I am confident these grants will go a long way toward putting our fishing fleets and fishing communities back on more solid economic footing. I want to thank the USDA for recognizing the great need for these investments in Alaska. The success of our fishing fleet continues to be one of my highest priorities, and I will keep standing up for them in Congress."