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Florida clam growers struggle as aquaculture industry reports $34M loss from Hurricane Idalia

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Monday, October 02, 2023, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

The following is an excerpt from an article published by abcactionnews.com:

At Two Docks Shellfishin Ruskin, clams are grown and then sold to restaurants, seafood markets, and distributors throughout the Tampa Bay Area, but lately, the shellfish farmers have been tight on supply.


“There just aren’t as many clams in the world as there should be right now due to those two storms, and that has a series of downstream effects, revenue, employment, and things like that,” said Dr. Aaron Welch, president of Two Docks Shellfish.

Last year, Welch said freshwater flooded the bay during Hurricane Ian, killing millions of clams. He added that the enormous storm surge following Hurricane Idalia the previous month wiped out millions more clams in hard-hit Cedar Key and he does business with clam growers there.

He says the combo of storms has prevented him from expanding his clam business as fast as he would like.

“It’s made it hard for us to continue to grow the business, and it’s hurt our revenue. Since we haven’t gotten our insurance payment from the USDA yet, we’re missing a huge amount of cash that we would be generating right now from selling the animals that died during Ian.”

The state estimates that Florida shellfish processors and others in the aquaculture industry have seen losses of more than $34.1 million from Hurricane Idalia. Aquaculture is the primary industry in Cedar Key.

Ag Commissioner estimates Florida's Aquaculture industry lost $35 million dollars... particularly the shellfish industry.

Florida clam growers struggle as aquaculture industry reports $34M loss from Hurricane Idalia

“Cedar Key is one of the number one producer for clams in the southeast region of the United States of America,” said Timothy Solano, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association board member.

Shellfish farming infrastructure and materials also sustained significant damage. It was a blow to Solano’s bottom line.

“With the sales that we weren't able to do for about two weeks because of us being shut down, the bags, material, everything. I’d say close to $2 million,” Solano said.

Clam growers said consumers will feel the impact, too. [Continues...]

Author: Rebecca Petit | abcactionnews.com | Read the full article by clicking the link here

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