The four members of Maine’s congressional delegation have joined a bipartisan push for federal coronavirus relief for seafood processors.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said the delegation members want U.S. Department of Agriculture acting Secretary Kevin Shea to implement a program that provides grants and forgivable loans to seafood processing facilities and processing vessels. Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, independent Sen. Angus King and Republican Sen. Susan Collins have also signed on to the effort.
The delegation said implementation of the grant and loan program would fulfill a promise made in the appropriations act Congress passed in December.
Maine is one of the most important states for U.S. seafood because it is home to most of the nation’s lobster industry. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted seafood supply chains in Maine and around the country.
The delegation members said “the success of seafood processors to meet and overcome the challenges created by COVID is directly linked to the success of fishermen who risk their safety to harvest the seafood that Americans enjoy.”