In this Sept. 3, 2018, file photo, a lobster walks on the ocean floor near a lobster trap off Biddeford Pool. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Seafood is a big part of Maine’s culture and history, and the state wants home cooks to use more of it during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the focus of a branding and promotion initiative the Maine Department of Marine Resources is launching. The effort will use $1 million in federal coronavirus aid to help consumers discover and use more Maine seafood, said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

Retail seafood sales are up 35 percent compared to this time last year, the marine resources department said. However, the seafood industry is also heavily reliant on restaurant sales, which have cratered since the pandemic started.

Keliher said the goal of the promotion is to show that “consumers can trust that their seafood products, from shellfish to seaweed and halibut to haddock will be the highest quality, best tasting seafood on earth.”

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