DEM, RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative Accepting Applications for New Microgrant Pilot Program to Support Local Seafood Businesses and Commercial Fishing Industry

Published on Friday, March 15, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, a public-private body chaired by DEM, are accepting grant applications for a new Commercial Fishing Microgrant Pilot Program. Small competitive grants up to $5,000 will be awarded to eligible seafood businesses and commercial fishers to bolster their efforts in the commercial fishing industry.The pilot program aims to provide support to commercial fishers, allowing them to focus their efforts on expanding landings and building their businesses from declines experienced during COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants include seafood business such as dealers, processors, commercial fishers, and for-hire fishers. Eligible grant projects include technology updates, equipment purchases, safety equipment, training for new staff, and other expenses that would otherwise inhibit commercial fishers from expanding their businesses. Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 22. For additional details and information on how to submit an application, please visit here

“The commercial fishing industry is one of the Ocean State’s oldest and most economically and culturally important industries,” said Governor Dan McKee. “These grants will help support the hard-working men and women of Rhode Island’s vibrant local seafood sector, which is a cornerstone of our food security strategy to build a stronger, more resilient local food system.”

“Fresh seafood is one of the many perks of life in the Ocean State, and the people and businesses who fish, catch, farm, and process it are an integral part of the state's economy,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “This grant opportunity is designed to benefit the local seafood community broadly by supporting opportunities to offset rising operation costs and to encourage further business expansion.” 

A virtual help session webinar to support applicants will be held on Monday, March 18 from 2-3:30 PM. During the webinar, an overview of the grant program will be provided, Department of Administration staff will be available for troubleshooting and system questions, and applicants will receive guidance on next steps. The webinar will be recorded for individuals that cannot attend and provided upon request. The Zoom link for the webinar is available here. For additional information or questions, please contact Molly Ogren, Chair of the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative at or Jordyn Kastlunger, Fisheries Marketing Specialist, at

Established by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2011, the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative is a public-private body that aims to support local fishers and seafood farmers and increase awareness and consumption of locally harvested species by the public. Its membership includes representatives from all key sectors of the commercial fishing, aquaculture, and seafood industries joined by representatives from URI, RI Sea Grant, and state agencies including DEM, which chairs the group, and the RI Commerce, Rhode Island Department of Health, and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council. The trademarked RI Seafood brand logo, which signifies that the products that bear the logo are locally landed or grown, is a core component of the Collaborative’s efforts to support local fishers and small businesses and to increase awareness and consumption by the public of locally fished species. Last year, the RI Seafood brand attended more than 25 events and has engaged close to 90 Rhode Island fishers, aquaculturists, and other seafood venues in its marketing campaign, all of which can be found on the local seafood finder that connects consumers with opportunities to buy fresh local seafood.   

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