More than 1,000 seafood companies were beneficiaries of an estimated $911 million in payroll loans as part of a US government program to aid businesses struggling during the lengthy coronavirus lockdown.

The Paycheck Protection Payment (PPP) loans -- part of the behemoth bailout the US government created for vulnerable companies to retain employees during the height of the coronavirus lockdown -- allowed companies to borrow money from lending institutions to cover eight weeks of staff payroll.