Federal grant to save Portland Fish Exchange refrigerators

Posted March 26, 2012, at 8:04 p.m.
Last modified March 26, 2012, at 8:20 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, on Monday announced a $320,000 federal grant to repair the refrigeration unit in Portland’s Fish Exchange.

“One piece of the refrigeration system has failed and the rest of it isn’t too far behind,” said Bert Jongerden, general manager of the Fish Exchange, in a statement. “This funding is coming in the nick of time and we’re going to get the repair work started as soon as possible.”

In her announcement of the Economic Development Administration grant award, Pingree echoed concerns by Fish Exchange officials that a broken-down fish refrigeration unit in the coming hot summer months could be catastrophic.

“Ninety-five percent of the fish landed in Maine goes through the Fish Exchange,” Pingree said in a statement. “Keeping that facility operating — and keeping the fish cold — is critical. The refrigeration system is in immediate need of repair and the work needs to start soon. This federal funding is going to make it possible to get some new equipment in right away.”

The refrigeration system is nearly 20 years old, and has developed what Pingree’s office described as “significant leaks.”

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