WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Economic Development Administration has awarded the Gulf of Maine Research Institute nearly $750,000 to help connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with leaders in the seafood industry to create digital platforms to promote growth, job creation and resiliency.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced the award on Monday that will establish the institute’s Gulf of Maine Blue Innovation Recovery program.
“Maine’s working waterfront is central to the livelihoods of families, communities, and small businesses throughout our state,” the senators said in a statement. “We welcome this investment in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, which will help our seafood industry weather the coronavirus pandemic through innovative technology.”
The seafood industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with restaurants closed, trade disrupted and new safety protocols put in place.
The institute will use the $749,856 economic relief grant and pair up with SeaAhead, a Boston-based bluetech startup platform, for the new program. It will help preserve the region’s momentum in blue innovation during this tough business environment and provide a lasting platform after the pandemic, the Economic Development Administration wrote in a statement.
“Throughout the Gulf of Maine region, a burgeoning group of entrepreneurial businesses are focused on driving innovation in finfish, shellfish and algae aquaculture, as well within U.S. wild fisheries,” the federal agency wrote. “Their solutions – including supply chain digitization, aquaculture innovations and new fisheries technology – are essential to global competitiveness in the blue economy.”