ASMI Seeks $20M in American Rescue Plan Act Relief to Boost Alaska Seafood Sector

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still awaiting word from Gov. Mike Dunleavy on a request for $20 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act relief money to help mitigate economic damage to the state’s seafood sector due to the global pandemic.

Jack Schultheis, chairman of the ASMI board and general manager of Kwik’Pak Fisheries, made the request to the governor’s office in mid-March. Schultheis told the governor that harvesters and processors are doing their part to bring fish to market, but that they need help to create new markets for products that lost value. Recovering market losses from the pandemic will require additional investment, he said.

ASMI’s plan calls for using $5 million of those funds to replenish lost revenue; $5 million for the foodservice sector; $5 million for the trade/retail sector; and $5 million to target the consumer sector in order to mitigate economic harm and aid recovery of the seafood industry.

Before the pandemic, 70% of seafood consumed in the U.S. was via food service, but with over 100,000 restaurant closures nationwide, key species like halibut, sablefish and Pacific cod suffered, and rebuilding foodservice markets home and aboard is going to take ongoing support, Schultheis said.

The retail sector is also undergoing rapid change, with consumers being offered new protein alternatives in the form of farmed seafood, plant and cell-based products, so AMSI must promote the health benefits and sustainability of Alaska seafood as a value product, he said.

Despite urgent pleas, ASMI has received no pandemic relief funding to date.

The ASMI board is scheduled to meet Thurs., April 29. Its meeting materials, including budget memos, program reports and presentations are available online at