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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $520,518 in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Development of Aquaculture Sector in Prince William Sound

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $520,518 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Chugach Regional Resources Commission, Anchorage, Alaska, 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.

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will stimulate local kelp farming and processing jobs in the seafood industry, bolstering the region’s ability to withstand future economic disruptions.”

“Shellfish, mussels, and the rapidly growing kelp farming industry are exciting and critical elements of Alaska’s blue economy,” said 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. I worked hard alongside many of my colleagues to ensure financial support is available for Alaskans through a number of COVID-19 relief packages, including the CARES Act, which has been a lifeline for many who are struggling to simply stay afloat. I thank the Administration for recognizing the importance of Alaska’s world-class seafood industry through this grant funding to develop aquaculture in Prince William Sound.”

“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,” said 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,” said 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. I am very pleased that the EDA is investing in the Chugach Regional Resources Commission with funding made possible through the CARES Act. Through this grant, the Commission will help create and retain Alaskan jobs and bolster Alaska's economy to withstand future disruptions. I will keep working with my colleagues in Congress and with the Administration to ensure that Alaska's seafood sector has the support necessary to come back from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

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 PDF), 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) (PDF) 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.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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