Applications open for seafood processors pandemic response and safety grants

The COVID-19 pandemic forced restrictions on many industries, including many that affected the seafood and aquaculture industry, and another round of grants are available to seafood processors and processing vessels in Washington to recoup some of those costs.  

According t0 the USDA, the Agricultural Marketing Service Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program is open for applications.

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) awarded over $600,000 in the first round. The intention of these funds is to provide relief for expenses associated with responding to the pandemic, including assistance with market pivots.

The USDA awarded $2.4 million in funds to the WSDA to distribute statewide. 

WSDA is now accepting applications for the second round of grant distribution.

The 90-day application period is now open, closing May 25. 

More information can be found on WSDA’s Washington Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Grant webpage.

Eligible expense categories to protect against COVID-19 include:

  • Implement workplace safety measures
  • Market pivots
  • Retrofit facilities for worker and consumer safety
  • Provide additional transportation options to maintain social distancing and worker and consumer safety
  • Provide worker housing
  • Provide health services

WSDA will announce awards in June 2023. Eligible businesses include those licensed to do business in Washington state and have a:

  • 2022 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Dealer License; and/or
  • 2022 Department of Health Shucker-Packer License; and/or
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Catcher-Processor Permit or Mothership Permit.

Businesses must have had at least one of these licenses or permits between Jan. 27, 2020 and Dec. 30, 2021 to be eligible.

Eligible businesses must be a first receiver of fish or shellfish delivered into or raised in the state and be in the business of changing the physical condition of the product to make it suitable for human consumption, retail sale, industrial uses, or long-term storage, including cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, shucking, filleting, freezing, or rendering into meal or oil. The physical change must go beyond gutting, gilling, heading, or icing.

For more information on WSDA’s available grants, visit