On September 23, 2021 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of block grants to coastal states and territories to assist in providing relief to seafood processors who incurred costs associated with implementing COVID-19 pandemic safety measures. Each state’s funding amount was determined by the USDA AMS using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2019 landings data. For New Jersey the total award amount is $826,807.
The State of New Jersey Project Partners- NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), NJ Department of Agriculture (NJDA), and NJ Department of Health (NJDOH)- submitted their application for funding on November 17, 2021 to create the New Jersey Seafood Processor COVID-19 Assistance Program and received notice the grant award notice on January 25, 2022.
Seafood processors, dealers, and seafood processing vessels may receive funding to reimburse expenses incurred between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2021. Applicants must have held all required valid licenses and permits to operate as a seafood processor and/or dealer within the USDA AMS dictated timeframe to be eligible for reimbursement.
Eligible activities for reimbursement include:
- workplace safety measures,
- retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety,
- market pivots, and
- medical costs associated with providing or purchasing COVID-19 testing.
These eligible activities were selected from the USDA AMS list of six categories based on outreach to New Jersey processors which showed that these were the most widely funded by industry participants and would therefore maximize the program’s benefit.