Nonprofit gets $20M from feds to promote Northeast seafood exports

FOOD EXPORT USA - NORTHEAST has received a multiyear $20 million grant that largely be used to promote Northeast seafood industry suppliers. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/CAROLINE BLUMBERG
FOOD EXPORT USA - NORTHEAST has received a multiyear $20 million grant that largely be used to promote Northeast seafood industry suppliers. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

PROVIDENCE – A nonprofit focused on facilitating trade between Northeast food, agricultural and seafood suppliers, and international importers has received $20 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand export markets for Northeast seafood.

The nonprofit, Food Export USA – Northeast applied for the funds from the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion program. The funds are expected to largely be used to open new export markets, to educate seafood importers and to connect the regional seafood industry to a range of international buyers.

Efforts will feature a focus on expanding markets for the Northeast lobster industry, which Food Export said was particularly impacted by recent tariffs between the United States and China.

“As a leading industry resource for suppliers, and in light of this new multiyear funding, Food Export – Northeast is ramping up our efforts to help expand and open new markets for our Northeast seafood suppliers and connect them to new buyers,” said Food Export USA – Northeast Executive Director Tim Hamilton. “Our focus is on building new and sustainable export growth for the Northeast seafood industry in order to ensure the region’s fisheries and their coastal communities’ way of life remain strong and resilient.”

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There will also be a focus on the expanding the oyster and Jonah crab export markets, due to the “ample” regional supply.

The organization noted that it sees the potential for an expansion of oyster export between the United States and the European Union. Food Export USA – Northeast already has planned a tour of the oyster industry in the region, visiting Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The tour is expected to bring 10 international buyers to the area from Germany, France, Hong Kong, Ukraine, China and Canada.

Food Export USA – Northeast said that it had recently granted $1.1 million in funds to 30 Northeast seafood suppliers for foreign promotion activities. It also said that it was conducting market research in Italy and Indonesia, planning trade missions and promoting the region’s seafood market at food trade shows.

Food Export USA is funded by the USDA’s Market Access Program administered by the department’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The ATP program grants were among $300 million granted nationwide.

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