Disaster Relief Resources for Aquaculture Producers

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the fact sheet, Disaster Relief for Aquaculture Producers, which summarizes assistance and resources currently available from various agencies.  In addition USDA is hosting several meetings around the state. These meetings have been updated recently and the current link is: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Florida/state-events/index. Please reach out to the listed contact person for any questions or to determine if attending the meeting would be of benefit to you or your farm.

Red Tide Workshops Rescheduled

The Red Tide Workshop hosted by Florida Sea Grant at the  South Florida Museum in Bradenton, FL has been rescheduled for November 7th.  The focus of the meeting will be on the impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and strategies for coping with them. Presenters will include professionals from various state agencies and academic institutions as well as industry members.

The full day workshop (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) aims to increase shellfish production in Florida by fostering communication about how to respond to a harmful algal bloom and how to operate in places where they are prevalent. The meeting will end with an open discussion followed by an on-site reception from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

Registration will be limited to 60 people. Click here, or contact Angela Collins (abcollins@ufl.edu) with any question about the event

Introduction to the Lone Cabbage Oyster Reef Restoration Project

Thursday, October 26, 7:00 p.m.

Community Center, 809 6th Street, Cedar Key

In less than 30 years, 3,000-year-old oyster reefs off Florida’s Big Bend coastline have declined by 88 percent, according to University of Florida/IFAS researchers. For residents who depend on the fishing grounds and other coastal resources protected by these reefs, it’s a worrying trend. Now, with an award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, a UF/IFAS research team will work to restore these shrinking oyster reefs and help coastal ecosystems and economies become more resilient in the face of climate change and rising tides.  The “Recovery and Resilience of Oyster Reefs in the Big Bend of Florida” project will target the Lone Cabbage reef chain in the Suwannee Sound. The UF/IFAS team plans to restore up to 32 acres (encompassing about 3 linear miles) of reef.

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Hurricane Irma Resource Information

One of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes in recent history, Hurricane Irma proved to be a fierce storm that left behind a path of destruction through Florida, from the Keys to Jacksonville and many areas in between. Many of Florida’s shellfish producing counties have been affected by the storm and assessment of losses is ongoing. Below is a summary of resource information being released through our state and federal agriculture agencies. More information will be posted as it is forthcoming.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Response

According to a USDA News Release dated September 13, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced special procedures to assist producers who lost crops or had other damage to their farms as a result of the recent hurricanes. Also, because of the severe and widespread damage caused by the hurricanes, USDA will provide additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is authorizing emergency procedures on a case-by-case basis to assist impacted borrowers, livestock owners, contract growers, and other producers. The measures announced apply only to counties impacted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-determined tropical storm, typhoon, or hurricane, including Harvey and Irma that have received a primary Presidential Disaster Declaration and those counties contiguous to such designated counties.

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Follow the Big Bend Shellfish Trail

The Big Bend Shellfish Trail and Map was produced with a grant award of $20,000 received by the Levy County Board of County Commission. One of five collaborative grants awarded across the Big Bend counties—Dixie, Jefferson, Levy, and Taylor—the funding encouraged partnerships to strengthen the region’s economic vitality while simultaneously ensuring the ongoing health of its natural resources. “A number of partners participated in the creation of Florida’s first Shellfish Trail and the largest trail of its kind in the United States. This project showcases our working waterfront communities and encourages economic growth in Levy County and in the Big Bend Region,” said Levy County Commissioner John Meeks.

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Red Tide Stinks! Workshop on Strategies for Dealing with Harmful Algal Blooms

Florida Sea Grant and the Gulf Shellfish Institute are hosting an upcoming workshop for the southwest Florida shellfish industry. This workshop aims to bring together industry, scientists and regulators to discuss shellfish industry challenges as related to harmful algal blooms.

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Registration and coffee open at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided on site.  An evening reception will follow the workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, also at the South Florida Museum.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant Extension, abcolins@ufl.edu

Sign-up for USDA Farm Service Agency NAP Coverage

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in crop losses. NAP provides catastrophic level (CAT) coverage based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop. Beginning in 2015, additional coverage may be elected by growers by the application closing date; growers who buy-up coverage must pay a premium for that level of coverage in addition to the service fee. The NAP Fact Sheet can be viewed here.

To be covered for the 2018 crop year, the deadline for clam growers to sign-up and pay the applicable service fee, and premium if elected, is September 1 at your local FSA office. Oyster culture is now also covered by NAP in select counties.

How to Attend Upcoming Hatchery Workshop through Internet

The University of Florida/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program will be hosting a workshop entitled Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines on Thursday, August 23rd from 4-6 pm (EST) at the Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab in Cedar Key, FL. The workshop presenter will be Dr. John Supan, director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, a state-of-the art facility which opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster bars. Dr. Supan has over 25 years of shellfish hatchery experience.

To accommodate interest in this workshop, there are several ways you can attend remotely with internet connection. The workshop will be broadcasted live via the Zoom app. Click here to download Zoom and access the workshop on August 23rd  (4-6 pm). You can also download the Zoom mobile app to participate using an iPhone or Android. Click here for some basic instructions on using Zoom. Zoom participants will have the ability to submit questions that may be relayed to Dr. Supan following his talk. A recording of the workshop will be made available for those unable to attend.

If you have any questions, contact Carter Cyr, at 207-228-5622 or ccyr399@ufl.edu

Hatchery Workshop August 23 in Cedar Key

A series of workshops is being conducted to address industry issues in the production of shellfish seed. Hatchery operators and personnel are invited to attend. The topic of this workshop is: Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines. Topics to be presented include: advances in shellfish hatchery system design, filtration equipment, and algal production systems; how to set up and operate a semi-closed or closed (recirculating) hatchery system; how to adjust water supply source with buffering system if pH and alkalinity are not optimal and values to maintain; and outline of shellfish hatchery operation and maintenance guidelines and troubleshooting tips. The workshop presenter is Dr. John Supan, who is the director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, Grand Isle, LA, a state-of-the art facility opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster reefs.

The hatchery workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 from 4 to 5:30 pm at the FWC Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, Classroom located at 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL.

Individual hatchery visits in Cedar Key with Dr. Supan can be scheduled from 2-4 pm on August 23 & from 8-10 am on August 24. Contact Leslie to schedule. Please confirm your attendance in advance to ensure adequate handout materials by contacting Leslie Sturmer, UF/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program, Phone: (352) 543-5057, Email: LNST@ufl.edu, or Rose Cantwell, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, Phone: (352) 215-6341, Email: cantwellrr@bellsouth.net.

A copy of the workshop flyer (pdf file) can be accessed here.

2017 Census of Agriculture: Make Sure You Are Counted!

Fish, shellfish, plant, reptile, crustacean and other farmers that grow aquatic animals will soon have the opportunity to represent aquaculture in their communities, state and nationally by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. As examples of the importance of Census of Agriculture data, this information drives decision making by state and federal governments, manufacturers of aquaculture production gear, drugs and chemicals, and state and federal funding for research and development.  All farm data is held confidential by NASS. Continue reading