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April 6, 2021

GMRI gets fed grant to help seafood businesses innovate

GMRI building exterior on Commercial St. in Portland. File photo courtesy / Gulf of Maine Research Institute The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is headquartered on Portland's waterfront.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has been awarded a federal grant of $749,856 to help small seafood firms and so-called bluetech startups innovate and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

The grant, will will come from the Economic Development Administration, will fund the institute's Blue Innovation Recovery program, which will act as a platform for growth and resilience for businesses facing significant challenges because of COVID-19.

In the medium to long-term, the project will focus on building a resilient regional economy through the use of a so-called blue innovation corridor with hubs of excellence in Boston and Portland, where the Gulf of Maine Research Institute is based.

The project aims to stimulate job creation and capital attraction as the seafood industry innovates and adapts to volatile markets.

“Maine’s seafood industry is a cornerstone of our state’s economy, but the pandemic upended supply chains across the country," said U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree, D-Maine 1st District, in Tuesday's press release announcing the grant.

“When restaurants were shuttered and trade halted last year, demand for Maine’s world-class seafood slowed," she added. "Sadly, many in the seafood sector haven’t seen their business return to pre-pandemic levels yet."

Pingree, a member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2013, said she's certain the funding "will make a difference for this important part of our state’s economy.”

She added: “This investment will ensure GMRI can target the bluetech startups and small seafood businesses who were hurt significantly by the pandemic — helping Maine to build a more resilient blue economy and creating good jobs in the seafood industry."

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