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Federal funds will help Oregon seafood processors with pandemic expenses

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Mitchell Griest
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Fishing boat in Newport, OR.

Seafood processors in Oregon will soon receive more than $1.5 million in federal funding. The money will go to pay for expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money is an important step in reimbursing the many costs associated with the pandemic, according to Lori Steele with the West Coast Seafood Processors Association.

“Expenses like equipment, PPE, COVID-19 testing, quarantining, retrofitting the processing facilities,” Steele says. “So the expenses were on the order of millions of dollars.”

The money was secured by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. It’s part of a larger investment by the US Department of Agriculture.

Approximately $50 million is going to 24 different states to support the seafood industry. In Oregon, the money will be distributed by the state's agriculture department.

In Southern Oregon, processors are located in Brookings, Coos Bay and Charleston. California and Washington also received funding from the USDA.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.