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Posted on Mar 24, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is administering a federal Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program is designed to provide relief to seafood processors who incurred costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Like many of Hawai`i’s industries, the seafood industry has had to manage many safety and marketing issues presented by the pandemic,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture. “This federal block grant program is meant to help defray some of the expense that seafood processors incurred for workplace safety, employee health and a shifting market.”

HDOA received $200,000 from the USDA to reimburse costs associated with the following categories:

  • Workplace Safety Measures: Workplace safety measures, including, but not limited to, personal protective equipment, sanitizer, hand washing stations, air filters, thermometers, cleaning supplies, or similar items.
  • Market Pivots: Market pivots such as transition to virtual/online sales costs (online platform development and fees, online marketing, credit card processing fees), supplies, new signage.
  • Retrofitting Facilities: Retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety (retrofitting harvester vessels for onboard vessel processing to maximize open-air activities, plexiglass, walk-up windows, heat lamps, fans, tents, propane, weights, tables, chairs).
  • Transportation: Additional transportation costs incurred to maintain social distancing.
  • Worker Housing: Additional worker housing costs incurred to maintain social distancing or to allow for quarantining of new or exposed employees.
  • Medical: Unreimbursed costs associated with providing or enabling vaccinations, testing, or healthcare treatment of infected employees, including any paid leave.

Eligible costs must have been incurred between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2021.  Processor eligibility is limited to those companies regulated under the Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch Program.

For more information on this grant, go to the Aquaculture and Livestock Support Program webpage at:

Contact for this program is Liz Akina at (808) 483-7104 or [email protected]

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Media Contact:

Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer

Hawai`i Department of Agriculture

(808) 973-9560

[email protected]