Resources are available to help the shellfish aquaculture industry and others develop preparedness plans and strengthen response to different scenarios. Information is current on the date posted. Access websites below for up-to-date information.

June 12, 2020

Direct Marketing Webinar

This webinar features industry guest speakers with experience in direct marketing efforts from ME and MI, as well as Sea Grant extension professional from CA and LA. They will each be providing a brief overview of their experiences with direct marketing and how COVID-19 has challenged or changed their activities and/or presented new opportunities for growth or innovation in their direct marketing efforts.

June 15, 2020:  3:00pm EST

Register in advance for this webinar:

June 1, 2020

Clarification of Eligibility for the USDA CFAP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce to clarify what aquaculture companies could be covered under their respective CARES Act programs so there is no redundancy. The FAQ and Federal Register provide some clarity for the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).    

To summarize for shellfish growers, Commerce will currently cover privately owned molluscan shellfish aquaculture businesses growing products in state or federal marine waters of the US and the hatcheries that supply them under CARES Act Section 12005.

Click here for additional information about Commerce’s allocation of CARES Act funding. 

May 14, 2020

Online Selling of Agriculture Products Webinar

Tactical tools, new research from Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE), and platforms for setting up e-commerce for businesses will be provided through a webinar to be held on Thursday, May 21 at 3 pm EDT. Register for free now at A recording will be made  available after the webinar.

A new blog post on the CREE online learning resource includes ways to sell online and in person for touchless transactions during this time of COVID-19. The direct link is

May 13, 2020

Steps to Selling Farmed Shellfish Retail

A step-by-step guide has been developed by the FDACS Division of Aquaculture informing certified shellfish growers of the requirements involved in selling their cultured clams or oysters direct. Download the retail sales document here.

May 8, 2020

Impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. aquaculture: Quarter 1 Results

To address the challenges faced by the aquaculture industry, a study was launched by Virginia Tech and Ohio State University Extension to assess the impacts of the coronavirus disease on U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses. This fact sheet summarizes the first quarter survey results.

May 5, 2020

Farmers Can Now Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on May 4th that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. The EIDL portal reopened as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. Only agricultural businesses, including aquaculture, are eligible to apply through the reopened EIDL portal. Eligible businesses can apply for the EIDL loan here. For farmers who submitted an EIDL application prior to this change, the SBA will continue to process these applications; there is no need to apply again. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis. This expanded access for agriculture to the EIDL program is in addition to existing access for farmers to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, which can be applied for here. For more information, visit

April 28, 2020

Recording of E-Commerce Webinar Available 

A recording of the recently held webinar on E-Commerce During COVID-19: Opportunities for Food Producers to Make Direct Market Sales Online webinar is now posted here. Hosted by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, panelists addressed various topics, including USDA resources, online platforms, and business planning, and provided examples of ways farmers have migrated online.

April 24, 2020

CARES Act Tip Sheet for Self Employed Individuals

This helpful and practical document developed by the Sea Grant Law Center helps individuals analyze which one of the CARES Act relief programs might be best for them as the programs re-open upon the President’s signing of the new legislation. There is background information as well as hypotheticals that show how the formulas might work in various income situations. Download the tip sheet here.

Small Business Administration Webinars on PPP and EIDL Programs

In anticipation of the refunding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering a repeated webinar over the next several days. This webinar will cover the qualifications, terms, and features of each program and briefly cover the application process. Eligible PPP recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount. The EIDL program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million.

Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Monday, April 27, 2020 – 9:00am EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Monday, April 27, 2020 – 11:00am EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Monday, April 27, 2020 – 1:00pm EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Monday, April 27, 2020 – 3:00pm EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – 9:00am EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – 11:00am EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – 1:00pm EDT, Registration Required
Webinar: SBA Economic Resources for COVID-19 Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – 3:00pm EDT, Registration Required

April 23, 2020


The Small Business Administration (SBA) has re-organized its web-based information describing programs and opportunities to apply for economic assistance during the pandemic.  Currently these programs (Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Disaster Injury Loan) are out of money; however, the US House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation today to refund these programs and the President has promised quick approval.

Coronavirus Funding Options

Click here to learn more about available SBA loan and debt relief options.

Guidance for Businesses and Employers

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For updates from CDC, please see the following:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Preventing Stigma Related to COVID-19

Share Facts about COVID-19

Information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Prevention, Symptoms and FAQ

April 20, 2020

E-Commerce Webinar on Direct Market Sales Online

The value of e-commerce for farmers, food gatekeepers and retailers will be discussed as customers are shifting their buying habits overnight to minimize exposure to COVID-19 in a free webinar at 12-1:00 pm EST on April 24. Register by clicking on:

Hosted by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) along with the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA), this webinar will provide information on consumers’ behavioral changes, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service resources available for producers to develop e-commerce sales,  various online platforms, the merits of using digital sales strategies, sample innovative aggregated venues online, business planning, and expectations for sales and profitability when approaching new markets. The webinar will conclude with questions from attendees. Those who register but cannot attend will be invited to view a recording of the webinar at a later date.

Oysters for Home Delivery Nationwide

Julie Qiu  international oyster expert and founder of In A Half Shell, an oyster appreciation website, has started compiling a list for Oyster Home Delivery. Farmers that are shipping oysters via mail order to customers can submit their information using this form to be added to the list.

April 16, 2020

RESPONSE REQUESTED: How is COVID-19 impacting your business?

University of Florida/IFAS Extension has been hearing from aquaculture producers as well as marine industry representatives throughout the state about ways the pandemic is affecting their daily work and livelihoods. UF/IFAS is now asking for your assistance. Economists in the Food and Resource Economics Department have just launched five surveys to be completed by those who perform operations within a variety of marine industries, as well as those in aquaculture production, processing, and transportation.

The surveys are designed to encompass all key facets of these sectors’ operations.

  1. Agriculture and aquaculture production, processing and transportation survey
  2. Commercial fishing survey
  3. Charter/for-hire operations survey includes for-hire fishing operators (charter, head boat, and guide), dive charter operators, and sightseeing charter operators.
  4. Seafood wholesale dealers survey
  5. Marine recreation support businesses survey includes businesses involved in boat rentals, boat repairs, wet and dry boat storage, and bait and tackle retailing.

Your participation in the survey(s) is strongly encouraged. The survey is anonymous, and your participation is voluntary. If you have business interests that correspond to multiple surveys, please respond to all appropriate surveys so accurate industry information can be obtained. The information provided will help assess the larger economic impact of COVID-19 on the marine and aquaculture industries. This information could be vital to informing policymakers decisions and establishing a roadmap for moving forward.

You can hover over the images below and click to go to the surveys.

Status of Paycheck Protection Program

The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds have been depleted as of today, so it is no longer operational until Congress is able to replenish funding with no firm timeline on when that is happening. 

April 15, 2020

Keep Florida Growing Webpage

The Keep Florida Growing webpage, a one-stop online portal with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, was just launched. Florida’s producers can list their farm-fresh products to be found by buyers, food banks, and consumers at the Florida Farm To You commodities list. The page also features information on economic assistance, as well as state purchasing programs for agricultural commodities, and the latest actions FDACS is taking to support farmers, including emergency orders. Florida’s consumers will find convenient access to food-related information. Currently, several clam and oyster aquaculture businesses are listed.

Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

This loan program has been closed and is no longer accepting applications at this time. See and contact the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for more information. A table reviewing the COVID loan programs can be found here; only the two programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) are still available.

April 14, 2020

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

– For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE (Updated 4/2/20)

– If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE (Updated 4/2/20)

– If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE (Updated 4/2/20)

– Borrower Application Form (Updated 4/2/20)

– New Lender Application Form (Updated 4/3/20)

– Lender Application Form (Updated 4/3/20)

– Interim Final Rule (Updated 4/3/20)

– Interim Final Rule on Affiliation (Updated 4/3/20)

– Applicable Affiliation Rules (Updated 4/3/20)

– Frequently Asked Questions *UPDATED 4/13/20*

– Find an eligible lender

April 13, 2020

Helping Buyers and Sellers Connect

Various initiatives have been launched in Florida to help sellers and buyers connect under these new circumstances. Some efforts focus on the availability of individual products. Other efforts provide lists or directories of places where consumers can buy local food, beyond the grocery store. A summary of these initiatives is provided here.

An Agricultural and Seafood Availability Notice form was created by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to collect information on available products. Product suppliers can submit individual commodities they have available, and FDACS is posting the information on their Florida Farm to You website.

April 9, 2020

Overview of Disaster Assistance Programs Benefiting Florida Small Businesses 

Florida Sea Grant has created a helpful summary table that provides background information on the various assistance programs that are available for Florida’s Small Business owners. 


April 9, 2020
Overview of Disaster Assistance Programs Benefiting Florida Small Businesses 

Florida Sea Grant has created a helpful summary table that provides background information on the various assistance programs that are available for Florida’s Small Business owners. 

Webinar: Aquaculture Farm Financial Management During the Pandemic

Practical considerations and suggestions on managing cash flow difficulties for aquaculture farm

Practical considerations and suggestions on managing cash flow difficulties for aquaculture farms and businesses were presented by Dr. Carole Engle on March 3, 2020. Dr. Engle’s Presentation (pdf) and Fact Sheet are now available. The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and NOAA Sea Grant have provided a link to view and download the recorded webinar. View it here.

April 8, 2020

Florida SBDC Facebook Live Event

Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network CEO Mike Myhre will be presenting an overview of the U.S. SBA’s disaster loan programs available in Florida. Visit to join the Facebook Live Event on Thursday, April 9th at 2:00 pm EST.

April 7, 2020

Direct-to-Consumer Sellers and Online Markets for Florida-Grown Foods

A list of farms, businesses, and online markets selling Florida-grown food directly to final consumers is being developed by UF/IFAS and FDACS. Complete the online form to be added to a directory of sellers. This information will be made public to help consumers find local and online options for purchasing Florida-grown food during the market disruptions caused by COVID-19. 

Webinar: Local Catch Network’s Resources is hosting a FREE webinar on Wednesday, April 8 at 12 PM ET (9 AM PT) to hear from government officials and other technical assistance providers about resources for the seafood industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Go to to register.

Webinar: Paycheck Protection Program

Farm Credit East offered a webinar on March 6, 2020, explaining the Paycheck Protection Program, how the program could assist your businesses, and what size loan you may qualify for. The presentation (pdf) and video recording are now available. 

Paycheck Protection Programs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed a frequently asked question factsheet for interpreting the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program. 

April 3, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program Opens Today for Applications

The US Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration have posted new and revised information to assist applicants for the Paycheck Protection Program.  Applicants can apply to qualified lenders starting today.

Paycheck Protection Program Resources

– SBA Paycheck Protection Program website

– Department of the Treasury CARES Act website

Following are a few comments from Mark Yarick with the Florida Small Business Development Center at their north central Florida office. “This program is being handled by local banks. I would encourage growers to leverage their commercial contact at the bank they use. It seems like every bank has different procedures – some are looking for tax returns, income statements, etc. and others are looking for proof of payroll. That is why applicants need to check with their bank for specific requirements. The program is a loan that is 100% guaranteed by the SBA. They say that they will forgive the loan if all of the money is used to pay and retain employees – so they will essentially be paying your employees for a couple of months.” If you have any questions, contact Mark at 386.362.1782 (phone) or (email).

April 1, 2020

SBA Bridge Loan Program: Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is committed to helping bring relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Resources include COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) OverviewLender Information Sheet, PPP Borrower SheetNorth Florida District Office (NFDO) Participating Lender List by County, South Florida District Office Participating Lender List. For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program visit

Webinar: Aquaculture Farm Financial Management During the Pandemic

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and NOAA Sea Grant are hosting a free webinar on Friday, April 3rd at 3:00 pm EDT. Dr. Carole Engle will present some practical considerations and suggestions related to managing cash flow difficulties on aquaculture farms and businesses. To join the webinar visit: or call  +1 646 876 9923 US (New York).

March 31, 2020

Guidance on Alternative Markets for Cultured Oysters and Clams

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and bars across the nation have closed. Since these are the major outlets for Florida’s cultured molluscan shellfish, sales have been greatly affected. There are alternative markets (for example, seafood retail, individuals, farmers markets) that can be explored by shellfish wholesalers. Growers may also consider these options by following guidelines provided in this fact sheet compiled by UF/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension and FDACS Division of Aquaculture

Florida Farm Bureau COVID-19 Resources Conference Call

Please join Florida Aquaculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick for a Tele-Town hall on April 2, 2020 to discuss Florida Agriculture during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, contact Adam Basford at To view the flyer click here.

Small Business’ Guide to the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package (the CARES Act)

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist business owners and their needs. The Small Business Guide by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship provides information on the Small Business Administration (SBA) Protection Program loans, Small Business Debt Relief Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Economic Injury Grants. In addition, the Small Business Guide and Checklist by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides additional information to frequently asked questions. 

March 30, 2020


free webinar by Ohio State University that provides some options on how to serve your customers through online sales. Note that sales of molluscan shellfish (clams, oysters) require additional refrigeration, tagging, and handling requirements.
When: March 31, 2020 12:00-1:00 PM (Eastern Time)
Join the webinar at and click on Enter the Arena.


The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work with chefs and other America’s food culture leaders. Below are helpful resources.   

JBF Food and Beverage Relief Fund 

Provides micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.

JBF Industry Support Learning Series

Starting Monday, March 30 and continuing every day at 2:00 P.M. until further notice, a 50-minute webinar and conversation will be hosted on topics including  Social Media During COVID-19  and Demystifying Government Relief Programs

March 25, 2020

FDACS Boat Ramp Access for Commercial Aquaculture Farmers 

Shellfish farmers who present a current Aquaculture Certificate of Registration are essential workers and should be authorized to use boat ramp facilities that are otherwise closed to the general public. This Letter provided by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) can be used to gain access. 

 Production and Shipment of Supplies Related to Critical Infrastructure Certificate 

This example of a re-entry certificate provided by Florida Farm Bureau Federation can be tailored for shellfish growers and wholesaler needs. 


Florida Business Damage Assessment Survey

Information provided in this survey will be used to determine damages related to disaster impacts in Florida, and does NOT serve as an application for resources.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

This program can provide up to $50,000 in bridge financing with a one year term at 0% interest. The website can walk people through the application process and has additional links to other programs available. 

Reemployment Assistance

Information provided for those that have lost their job due to COVID-19.


FSA provides a guidebook that simplifies information on the types of farm loans available; how to apply, what you can expect once you submit your application, and your rights and responsibilities as an FSA customer. Click here to access the guidebook.


The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) is hosting a conference call with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance.  The purpose of the call is to provide information for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and provide information about other SBA economic disaster assistance programs. The conference call will occur: Thursday, March 26th, starting at 2:00 pm eastern. If you have any questions, contact the NAA Office at

March 24, 2020


In response to the coronavirus disease, several organizations are collecting information about how your farm or business has been affected by this pandemic. Results will be used to identify and prioritize resources that may be of benefit. Impacts will also be communicated to public and private decision makers. All data will remain anonymous and participation is voluntary.

National Aquaculture Association Survey 
This survey will close at 11:59 pm EDT on April 10, 2020. If you have any questions, contact Matt Smith,, or Jonathan van Senten,

National Sea Grant Survey 
If you have any comments or questions, contact Beth Walton with Oyster South,

March 20, 2020


Per the FDACS Division of Aquaculture, limited routine water sampling of shellfish harvest waters will continue and will transition to and maintain mission critical sampling as conditions allow. Call 850-617-7615 or email for questions.


COVID-19 fact sheets provide science-based information on topics ranging from food safety, and preventative means for food-related businesses to coping with financial stress.

March 19, 2020


The Department (FDACS) has created a webpage with resources for consumers and farmers.


The National Fisheries Institute provides responses to specific seafood safety questions as well as four simple talking points.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses, including aquaculture, suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. For more information, call 1-800-659-2955 or email


The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida is provided. The Florida Health call center is available 24 hours per day at (866) 779-6121. Inquiries may also be emailed to


The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in the U.S. is provided. The CDC call center is available 24 hours per day at (800) 232-4636. Inquiries may also be emailed to CDC-INFO.


The Department has created guides based on information provided by the CDC including Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees infographic and Customizable Workplace Flyer.

March 17, 2020

FDACS Shellfish Harvester and Aquaculture Training Courses – Online Only

The workshops and in-person shellfish harvester training courses offered by the FDACS Division of Aquaculture and UF/IFAS to assist commercial shellfish harvesters, aquaculturists, and authorized users complete the annual Training have been cancelled. The required annual training can be completed online by logging into

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