Board of Public Works Approves New Funding for Seafood Marketing Program
$375,000 Allocated by Hogan Administration Will Help Offset Losses Caused by Labor Shortage
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved a Hogan administration initiative to provide $375,000 from the state’s contingent fund to the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s seafood marketing program. This funding will assist with marketing Maryland blue crabs to help businesses recover lost income caused by federal cuts to the H-2B visa program, which has historically provided temporary workers for the industry.
“Our seafood industry is an integral part of the fabric of our great state. Many of the crab houses on the Eastern Shore rely on seasonal workers and have been forced to close their doors without them,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We remain hopeful that this issue will be resolved at the federal level, but in the meantime, we are doing all we can at the state level to support this iconic industry and the men and women who depend on it for their livelihood.”
The Hogan administration, along with Congressman Andy Harris, has been urging the federal government to restore the availability of H-2B visas for Maryland’s seafood processors. On April 23, 2018, Governor Hogan sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta urging this action, and the governor has continued to push for federal labor policies that support Maryland’s signature seafood industry.
The Department of Agriculture will develop this marketing campaign, which will aim to encourage more sales and enhance market opportunities, in consultation with the Seafood Marketing Advisory Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industry Association, and other stakeholders. The campaign will supplement the already well-established Maryland True Blue and Maryland’s Best Seafood campaigns.