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Following Hurricane Idalia, Wilton Simpson Announces Aquaculture Shellfish Nursery and Hatchery Grants

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At the end of last week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson announced the availably of grants for aquaculture shellfish hatcheries and nurseries to increase the quality, availability, and sustainability of Florida shellfish seed. The grants are available statewide to grow Florida’s aquaculture industry, but priority is being given to projects that support underserved areas and/or producers impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Hurricane Idalia caused an estimated $34,159,952 in damages and losses to Florida’s aquaculture industry.

“Hurricane Idalia dealt a devastating blow to Florida’s aquaculture industry, and as producers are rebuilding and repairing their operations, we need to substantially increase the quality, availability, and sustainability of our shellfish seed,” saidSimpson. “We will continue to do everything we can to support impacted agricultural producers and ensure that they have all the tools they need to rebuild and recover.”

A total of $500,000 is available for grants that will provide a 50-50 match of funds expended to purchase qualifying gear and supplies after the notice of award date. Grants cannot be used as reimbursement funds for any purchase made prior to the award date. Applicants must be an existing Aquaculture Certificate of Registration Holder or be issued an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration before purchases are made. Priority will be given to applicants whose projects will increase the availability of seed for farmers in geographies currently underserved, including the Gulf coast, and/or those recently impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Grant applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on October 30, 2023.

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