COVID-19 Resources for Coastal Communities and Industries

Compiled by Maine Sea Grant

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts all of our Maine communities, redefining how we do business, connect with our communities, and move through our day-to-day lives. It is a testament to the strength of our region that so many organizations are stepping up to make sure you have access to the resources you need.

Maine Sea Grant remains committed to supporting coastal communities and ecosystems through the pandemic. Now more than ever, access to accurate and up-to-date information will help us move forward. There is a sea (forgive the pun!) of information out there to wade through. Whether you’re looking on behalf of your business or industry, or for yourself, your family or your community, we have pulled together resources to get you started.

For Consumers and Seafood Lovers
For Businesses and Industry
For Individuals, Families, and Communities
Updates from Maine Officials

We encourage you to revisit our page regularly; we will update weekly.


For Consumers and Seafood Lovers icon triptych of oysters seaweed and fish on a plate

Buying seafood

One of the best things about living in Maine is having access to fresh, high-quality, locally sourced seafood. Organizations across the state are helping consumers find and connect to seafood providers.

The Maine Seafood Connection Facebook Page
A space where fishermen and seafood businesses can post product they have for sale and local seafood consumers can find the best seafood in the world.

Maine’s Working Waterfront – Seafood Connect Facebook Page
Your direct connection to the working waterfront and Maine’s saltwater fishermen. Send a message to get connected!

Maine Farm and Seafood Products Directory
University of Maine Cooperative Extension website (includes map) shows alternative ways customers can obtain farm products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maine Seafood Map
A map from Maine DMR that shows retail dealers and restaurants that sell the best seafood in the world: Maine seafood!

Order Oysters
A list of oyster farms currently shipping oysters directly to consumer doorsteps nationwide. Add your business or find oysters to buy.

Local Catch Network
A web-based Seafood Finder mapping tool, which consumers can use to find seafood suppliers based on location, species, delivery method, and business values.

Is your seafood safe?

Seafood is an important source of protein for our diets, and it is important to know that the food we are eating is safe.

Is your seafood safe?
FAQ from public health agencies from the U.S. and around the world answering questions related to seafood and COVID-19.


For Businesses and Industryicon triptych of a lobster, a fishing boat and an suv with kayak representing tourism

Small Businesses

It can be overwhelming for small business owners and their employees, as well as sole proprietors and the self-employed to figure out what financial support is available and how to access those funds. Here we offer some resources we have found helpful.

On April 23, 2020, Governor Mills outlined a vision for re-opening Maine’s economy. And on April 28, 2020, the Governor’s office outlined a detailed, phased approach for getting there, with specific information for various sectors of the economy.

For all types of small businesses and employees, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., a mission-driven lender, keeps a useful list of up-to-date COVID-19 Resources for Businesses.

The US Chamber of Commerce has also compiled a useful Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide and an Emergency Loan Small Business Checklist.

The Maine Chamber of Commerce also provides suggestions for Taking Care of Business during the Covid-19 Crisis in Maine.

For fishermen and aquaculture farmers seeking business support, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association has launched a comprehensive clearinghouse. Included is a great “COVID Financial Aid Webinar for Fishermen, Crew, and Harvesters” hosted in partnership with Maine’s Small Business Development Center.

Maine Lobsterman’s Association is also keeping track of COVID-19 Financial Resources.

Our own Maine Sea Grant extension associate Dana Morse has been sharing daily updates via email with up-to-date resources from multiple partners. These are generally geared towards aquaculture farmers, but contain other useful information as well. Get in touch with Dana by email for more information.

The CARES Act

Congress has created or updated funding mechanisms through the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program (re-opened on April 27, 2020) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. These funds are moving very quickly so act now! A great first step is to call your banker as several programs are administered through local lenders.

It can be confusing navigating all the information out there. Set up an appointment today with a financial advisor at the Maine Small Business Development Centers.

The National Sea Grant Law Center, in partnership with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, created this clearinghouse of reliable information on CARES Act programs and other issues associated with COVID-19 for the fishing, aquaculture, and seafood industries. This page is updated frequently as questions are received and resources come online.

Resources provided by relevant state agencies

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development has a regularly updated page that covers financial resources, listings of essential businesses and information related to safely re-opening.

Maine Small Business Development Centers
Assistance for entrepreneurs and small businesses through no-cost confidential business advising and training. Advisors can help you identify what financing you qualify for and how to apply.

Maine Department of Labor
Information regarding unemployment and how to file for unemployment in Maine.
Note: unemployment has been expanded to include self-employed, 1099 contractors, sole proprietors, and part-time workers.

Finance Authority of Maine
Information regarding COVID-19 relief loan programs for businesses and individuals experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Fishermen and Aquaculturists

If you are a fisherman or aquaculture farmer looking for financial resources, those are in the section above!

With some seafood markets temporarily closing their doors, many Maine fishermen and aquaculture farmers are expressing interest in selling product direct to customers. The following websites can direct you towards the permits and safe practices needed to help you get started.

USDA is making available approximately $530 million through the Seafood Trade Relief Program to assist fishermen, with a sign-up start date of September 14, 2020. More info at farmers.gov/seafood. Locate your local FSA office here.

USDA is making available approximately $14 billion through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) to assist agricultural producers, including aquaculture businesses, that face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020. More info at the USDA website.
Locate your local FSA office.

Guidance and Permitting

Department of Marine Resources (DMR)
Find links to DMR-managed licenses.
NOTE: You may also need licenses from other agencies, such as Dept of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and the Health Inspection Program (HIP) of the Division of Environmental and Community Health.

Maine Marine Contact Information
Maine DMR recommends those interested in selling direct to consumer contact appropriate authorities, especially Maine Marine Patrol, to understand how to make such sales legally.

Resources for Industry and Individuals Regarding COVID-19
Maine DMR has compiled a list of resource from various state departments to help individuals and businesses.

Guidance to Maine Oyster Farmers on Selling Your Products In-State
A four-page fact sheet summarizing some simple ways holders of a valid Maine Aquaculture License can get their shellfish to market.

Maine Lobstermen’s Association offers some guidance for direct to consumer sales.

Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Platforms

Below are directories to help fishermen, farmers and consumers connect (note that sales require customers, so we have also listed these resources in the Consumer section above):

The Maine Seafood Connection Facebook Page
A space where fishermen and seafood businesses can post product they have for sale and local seafood consumers can find the best seafood in the world.

Maine’s Working Waterfront – Seafood Connect Facebook Page
Your direct connection to the working waterfront and Maine’s saltwater fishermen. Send a message to get connected!

Maine Farm and Seafood Products Directory
University of Maine Cooperative Extension website (includes map) offers a platform where farms can list their products.

Maine Seafood Maps
A map from Maine DMR listing retail dealers and restaurants.

Oyster Orders
Add your business to a list of oyster farms currently shipping oysters directly to consumer doorsteps nationwide.

Local Catch Network
A web-based Seafood Finder mapping tool, where suppliers can connect to consumers looking for seafood based on location, species, delivery method, and business values.

Safe seafood handling

Tips for Commercial Seafood Harvesters When Handling Seafood During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Produced by Louisiana Sea Grant and partners.

Guidance for Seafood Proccessing Plants During COVID-19
Produced by Louisiana Sea Grant and partners.

ServSafe Training
Online training for safe food handling.

Tourism

Every summer, tens of millions of international and US tourists visit our beautiful coast. It is impossible to predict when ‘shelter in place’ or similar guidelines will be lifted around the country, and even less clear how it will affect our tourism industry this season and in years to come.

The Maine Tourism Relief Fund, founded by Poland Spring and the Maine Tourism Association, was created to provide relief to small businesses and their employees experiencing great hardship as a result of business closures in the state due to COVID-19.

Tourism Updates, Maine Office of Tourism (MOT)
For tourism industry members, these updates contain information about the status of MOT marketing campaigns in light of COVID-19, as well as social media best practices, and more.

Taking Care of Business During the COVID-19 Crisis in Maine
Guidance from the Maine Chamber of Commerce

Dealing with the Coronavirus, Ideas to help your tourism industry and downtown businesses
Free webinars with Roger Brooks from Destination Development Association, which connects communities with infrastructure development and marketing all over the world.

Share how COVID-19 is impacting your work

Multiple agencies and organizations are attempting to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on various business sectors. These surveys are important because they will help define where funding and support should be targeted in the coming weeks.

NOAA Fisheries Gathering Information About COVID-19 Impact
The CARES Act includes $300 million for fisheries and aquaculture related support. NOAA Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) is collecting information to help direct that funding.

COVID-19 Maine Farmers’ Response Survey
Agricultural and aquaculture service providers in Maine are gathering information to learn how best to support you through direct assistance and policy in this unpredictable time. Hosted by the Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine.

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Survey to gather input on safely re-opening Maine’s economy.


For Individuals, Families, and Communities logo triptych with a family, raised hands, and a hiker

For Municipalities

City and town officials will be an integral part of our state and communities’ response to COVID-19.

Maine Municipal Association Guidance for Municipalities
Outlines the legislature’s approval of key measures to increase government flexibility.
Note: Maine Sea Grant is available to consult with you in planning how to move local government operations online in order to meet the new ‘Remote Access’ section of recent legislation.

For Communities and Families

It is truly heartwarming to see the lengths our communities and families will go to in order to keep each other safe.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Administration
Guidance and resources to assist individuals, providers, communities, and states across the country.

How to Cope with Sheltering in Place
A fact sheet that provides tips for coping with sheltering in place and recommendations for caring for oneself and the family.

Maine Equal Justice
Compilation of resources about health care, food security, evictions, resources for immigrants, and more.

Common Sense Media offers these quality media resources to help families navigate learning, as well as staying entertained and engaged at home.

For holding remote meetings

Can’t meet in person? These tools can help.

Zoom Conferencing
Free online conference calls/videos 40min or less, reasonable pricing plans for longer calls.

Zoom conferencing cheat sheet
Provided by the Island Institute

Online meeting facilitation tips and other resources
From the Island Institute.

How to Participate in Zoom Classes and Meetings
Instructions provided by the Maine Digital Inclusion Initiative.

Google Hangouts
Meeting program free for Gmail account holders. You need a Gmail account to set up a meeting, but anyone can join.

Google Hangouts Cheat Sheet
A step-by-step from Google on how to schedule and set up a meeting.


Updates from Maine’s Elected Officials icon triptych with dirigo capitol and smartphone

Governor Janet Mills

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Congressman Jared Golden

Senator Angus King

Senator Susan Collins


We are all living through an unprecedented time, and information and resources are changing by the hour. If you find something out of date or a link that isn’t working, please reach out to us. We’d like to fix it.

Haven’t found what you are looking for? Let us know, and we’ll see if one of our Marine Extension Associates can help.