US Department of Commerce Invests $520,518 to Support the Development of Aquaculture in Prince William Sound
The US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $520,518 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Chugach Regional Resources Commission to support development of the aquaculture sector in Prince William Sound.
This EDA grant, to be matched with $97,235 in local investment, is expected to create 85 jobs and retain 128 jobs.
“This project will stimulate local kelp farming and processing jobs in the seafood industry, bolstering the region’s ability to withstand future economic disruptions,” says Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
“Shellfish, mussels, and the rapidly growing kelp farming industry are exciting and critical elements of Alaska’s blue economy,” says Senator Lisa Murkowski. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of life, including many of Alaska’s small businesses operating in this important sector.”
“Alaska’s rocky coastal waters are brimming with potential when it comes to kelp, which could help address a myriad of global challenges, including climate change, ocean acidification, plastic marine debris, food insecurity, and many others,” says Senator Dan Sullivan.
“This significant new EDA grant announced today gives Alaskans the opportunity to lead these efforts and boost the state’s plant aquaculture industry. I’m excited to see this industry take off, create and sustain jobs in the Prince William Sound region and across our state, and make use of Alaska’s abundant renewable marine resources.”
“Alaska’s seafood industry is central to our state’s culture and way of life. Our fishermen and processors work day in and day out to move our seafood to market, but the COVID-19 pandemic has produced more challenges than ever before,” says Congressman Don Young.
“Getting our fishing sector onto solid footing will require tremendous collaboration and innovation, but I know that Alaskans can get it done… Through this grant, the Commission will help create and retain Alaskan jobs and bolster Alaska’s economy to withstand future disruptions.”
This EDA investment will fund the development of a fully integrated kelp industry in Prince William Sound by creating kelp seed hatchery capacity, conducting baseline kelp growing research at seven farm test sites, training project partners, and providing processors products for market development.
This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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