Florida Aquaculture Association

PO Box 2974

Riverview, FL 33568   

Telephone: 813-438-FLAA(3522)

E-mail: tiffany@flaa.org

©2018 by Florida Aquaculture Association. 

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Aquaculture News

SBA Office of Disaster Assistance Conference Call: March 26th

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 the “nuts and bolts” of applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, answer listener questions about the loan program, and provide information about other SBA economic disaster assistance programs.
 
The conference call will occur:
          Thursday, March 26th, starting at 2:00 pm eastern.
 
The call-in information is:
          Dial In # - 712-775-7031
          Access Code - 664-518-980
 
The agenda for the call will be:

            I.  Introductions
            II. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
                        Overview
                        Intent and Scope
                        Eligibility
                        Application Process
             III. Other Economic Assistance Programs
             IV. Caller Questions

If you would like for the SBA representatives to address a particular topic or answer a specific question during their presentation, please send your requests to the NAA Office at naa@thenaa.net.

NAA Update: All 50 States included SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
 
Since the last NAA Update on this topic (March 19th), the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is now available in the 50 states and American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands to provide small businesses, including small aquaculture businesses, with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Eligibility is based upon identified counties in each state and there are now multiple declarations resulting in every county in some states being included.
 
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
 
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
 
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For up-to-date information including states or counties that are included or to apply for assistance, visit: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

FL Aquaculture & COVID-19

FAA Members and Supporters,  
 
As you all know the COVID-19 outbreak has been labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. While this is a very serious health concern for individuals not only in the state of Florida but throughout the country and world.  
 
For the aquaculture industry within the state of Florida, the Florida Aquaculture Association recommends that all producers, supporters, and individuals within the industry, document how they are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. From a production and revenue standpoint, some of you may experience disruptions that would not normally be occurring if this outbreak was not occuring.  
 
While there has not been official reports or statements made in regards to state or federal funding allocated to agricultural losses due to COVID-19, we would like to be prepared with accurate data and documentation if it ever becomes necessary.  
 
We are working with our commodity representatives, FDACS Division of Aquaculture, and other stakeholders to ensure all of those within the aquaculture industry are well informed and safe. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to Tiffany Conner via the contact information below.  
 
 
Sincerely,  
 
Tiffany Conner  

FAA Coordinator  

813-438-FLAA  

Tiffany@flaa.org 

NAA Hosting Double-Crested Cormorant FWS ANPR Conference Call

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) is hosting a conference call on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm eastern, focused on assisting fish farmers to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) entitled, “Migratory Bird Permits; Management of the Double-Crested Cormorants throughout the United States.”
 
The call-in numbers are:

 

Telephone number: 712-775-7031
Access code: 664-518-980

Prior to the call, the NAA recommends review of the following FWS documents:

 

Additional documents related to aquaculture and public resource agency management of double-crested cormorants are posted to a FWS website entitled “Expanding Management of Conflicts Associated with Double-Crested Cormorants.”
 
All fish farmers that experience double-crested cormorant eating your fish are encouraged to comment whether you participate in the conference call or not.  To comment on-line click here by midnight March 9, 2020.

Sea Grant Announces $5M in Grant Funding for US Aquaculture Economic or Market Research

Subject to the availability of funding, Sea Grant anticipates approximately $5,000,000 will be available for research projects and programs that will significantly advance the understanding of the economics of aquaculture businesses in the U.S. and address gaps regarding important market information. The overall goal is to advance business management towards development of a sustainable marine and Great Lakes aquaculture industry in the United States.

Successful proposals will address geographic and/or topical needs and will fully integrate research, extension, and education. Proposals that will support broad, non-proprietary research to address critical gaps with respect to aquaculture economics and market needs; make that information available to U.S. aquaculture businesses and management agencies; and build the capacity of Sea Grant and its partners, including Sea Grant aquaculture extension personnel and industry stakeholders, are preferred. These investments are consistent with Sea Grant’s focus area of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Sea Grant Network’s 10-year Aquaculture Vision, both which support NOAA and Department of Commerce aquaculture goals. 
 
All proposals to this competition must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. Other interested entities must submit proposals in partnership with and through a relevant Sea Grant Program.

Read the formal announcement for complete information here. An informational Webinar will be held on February 5, 2020 at 3 pm Eastern (Register or join here)
 
Notices of intent to submit due February 26, 2020. Full proposals due April 22, 2020

NAA Posts Updated and Expanded Rebuttal to Marine Aquaculture Criticisms

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) has posted an updated and expanded white paper entitled, Rebutting Marine Aquaculture Myths and Unfounded Criticisms, in anticipation of opposition to the federal permitting of an experimental, demonstration net pen to be located 45 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico funded by Florida Sea Grant.

Kampachi Farms is funded for one year to construct and operate a net pen demonstration project in the Gulf of Mexico as an educational platform for policymakers, the public and fishing interests. The submersible net pen will float at the surface off the coast of southwest Florida, with an objective of producing 88,000 pounds of marketable almaco jack.

Later today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a public hearing at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota Florida to receive additional public comment on the proposed permitting. The NAA will be attending to express support for the project and its educational and demonstration objectives.

A public comment period on the draft permit and supporting analyses is open until February 4, 2020.  NAA members and other interested parties are encouraged to comment on the proposed action and can do so by emailing R4NPDES.Kampachi@epa.gov.  

Seafood in Focus: Phase One Trade Agreement between the US and China

On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years. Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement.
 
As incomes rise in China, consumption of animal proteins such as seafood is becoming more popular among Chinese consumers. In addition, China is a major partner for U.S. seafood producers who ship raw seafood to China for further processing. However, in recent years, U.S. seafood exports to China have been hampered by restrictive Chinese regulatory initiatives. The Phase One agreement addresses these limitations and gives U.S. seafood companies increased access to the China market.
 
China has agreed to allow the import of 26 previously unapproved aquatic species through a side letter that accompanies the Agreement. China has also committed to streamline the timelines and procedures for registering U.S. seafood facilities and products, including fish meal and oil, by updating its facility registrations within 20 business days of receipt of a list from FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). China will ensure the continued use of existing bilaterally-agreed certificates issued by NOAA. In addition, competent authorities in the United States and China will reconvene their technical working group on seafood. The United States estimates these commitments could result in an additional $400 million in annual aquatic product exports to China above current levels.
 
For additional information, visit the Office of the US Trade Representative webpage devoted to Phase One here.

WOTUS: Navigable Waters Protection Rule Released

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “Waters of the United States” and thereby establish federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. For the first time, the agencies are streamlining the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. Congress, in the Clean Water Act, explicitly directed the Agencies to protect “navigable waters.” The Navigable Waters Protection Rule regulates these waters and the core tributary systems that provide perennial or intermittent flow into them. Read the pre-publication version of the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

Under the final “Step 2” rule, four clear categories of waters are federally regulated:

  • The territorial seas and traditional navigable waters,

  • Perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters,

  • Certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments, and

  • Wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters

The final rule also details 12 categories of exclusions, features that are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches; prior converted cropland; and waste treatment systems.

The final rule clarifies key elements related to the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction, including:

  • Providing clarity and consistency by removing the proposed separate categories for jurisdictional ditches and impoundments.

  • Refining the proposed definition of “typical year,” which provides important regional and temporal flexibility and ensures jurisdiction is being accurately determined in times that are not too wet and not too dry.

  • Defining “adjacent wetlands” as wetlands that are meaningfully connected to other jurisdictional waters, for example, by directly abutting or having regular surface water communication with jurisdictional waters.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States.’” This final rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and will replace the Step One Rule published in October, 2019.

This final action is informed by robust public outreach and engagement on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, including pre-proposal engagement that generate more than 6,000 recommendations and approximately 620,000 comments received on the proposal. The final definition balances the input the final agencies received from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule Materials

Public Outreach Opportunities:
Public Webcast - A public webcast discussing the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule will be held on February 13, 2020 - EPA and the Army will hold a public webcast to help explain the key elements of the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule on Thursday, February 13, 2020. Registration is available here.

Aquaculture America 2020 Session Schedule

Aquaculture America 2020 Session Schedule

NAA Action Alert: FWS Solicits Public Input on Cormorant Management

As part of ongoing efforts to address conflicts between double-crested cormorants and wild and stocked fisheries, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has released a Federal Register describing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) and soliciting public input on future management options. 
 
“Balancing the protection of native wildlife with economic and human health needs is fundamental to effective management practices,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Today’s action starts the process of improving management and further reduces conflicts with double-crested cormorants throughout the United States.”
 
Future management actions built on a strong biological foundation ensure cormorant populations are managed responsibly and in compliance with federal laws and regulations, while balancing economic development, human health and safety, endangered species management and other priorities. 
 
“We are building long-term solutions for managing conflicts with double-crested cormorants under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act while maintaining healthy populations of this species,” said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This effort, in collaboration with our partners, will ensure continued good stewardship of our natural resources.”
 
In 2017, the FWS completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluating options for issuing individual depredation permits to provide relief for aquaculture facilities experiencing direct economic losses from cormorants across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia.
 
The EA analyzed options for the issuance of depredation permits for cormorants where there is either significant economic damage to aquaculture facilities, significant damage to native vegetation, significant impact on a threatened or endangered species, or significant human safety risks. Upon completion of the EA on November 15, 2017, the FWS began issuing permits to aquaculture facility managers and property owners across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. 
 
This review did not include potential damage to recreational and commercial fishing by cormorants. Since the publication of the EA, the FWS engaged stakeholders to assess the biological, social and economic significance of wild fish-cormorant interactions, and to identify a suite of management alternatives. 
 
The FWS is also currently working with tribes, state fish and wildlife agencies and other federal partners to assess comprehensive management options for cormorants across the United States.
 
“With nearly 30,000 water surface acres across Arkansas used for aquaculture production, our fish farmers contributed $71.1 million to our state’s economy in 2017. However, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates double-crested cormorants cause more than $25 million in damage annually within the aquaculture industry. These birds have become the foremost antagonists of fish farmers. We need commonsense solutions that allow aquaculture producers to safeguard their fish from these predators,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman (AR). “I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for responding to the need of aquaculture producers by increasing the amount of maximum allowable take of double-crested cormorants, and I look forward to working with the Department of Interior and FWS to ensure we can find commonsense solutions to ease the burden for hard working Arkansan aquaculture producers.” 
 
“Arkansans are experiencing the harmful impact of double-crested cormorants across the state. As one of the top aquaculture producers in the nation, Arkansas and its fish farmers are suffering millions of dollars in losses as these avian predators consume critical inventory,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (AR). “I am glad the Department of Interior is taking this problem seriously and hope that further progress will come swiftly.”
 
“Bird predation costs producers millions of dollars every year.  I applaud the Department of the Interior for taking this important step to help aquacultures producers address those losses,” said U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS).
 
“The double-crested cormorant has been detrimental to Mississippi’s catfish farmers,” said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (MS). “I am pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking this issue seriously and is considering options to allow aquaculture producers to manage the populations of these predatory birds that are destroying fish populations.” 
 
“I am pleased to see the Department is moving forward in the rulemaking process for the depredation of double-crested cormorants. This is a desperately needed next step for Michigan’s First District, where over-population is threatening the health of our free swimming and recreational fisheries,” said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01). “I am grateful the Administration has committed to this process to ensure a long-term and effective management plan for Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.”  
 
“I am pleased with the efforts and action by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to increase the allowable take of double-crested cormorants. This is a necessary step to mitigate more than $25 million in annual damages to the catfish and aquaculture industry,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Guest (MS-03). “I’m supportive of this proposed rule, which will have a positive impact on Mississippi’s catfish industry, and I will continue to work with FWS to promote Mississippi’s aquaculture needs.”
 
“Science has consistently proven that managing cormorants is necessary to protect not just aquaculture but fishing as well. I applaud the administration for listening to input, increasing the take and promoting sound scientific practices,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04).
 
“Double-crested cormorants can pose a significant threat to American aquaculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to learn that the Department of the Interior is moving forward to help provide farmers the necessary management tools to prevent double-crested cormorants from preying on farm livestock,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
 
“The strong return of double crested cormorants is a significant conservation success. But in the absence of natural predators, cormorants are inflicting substantial depredation on both private and public aquatic resources. This effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary and appropriate to maintain a healthy ecosystem," said Dale Hall, Former Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
Public scoping for the rulemaking process begins with the publication of the ANPR in the Federal Register today and will continue for 45 days until March 9, 2020. To promulgate a proposed rule and prepare a draft environmental review pursuant to NEPA, the FWS will take into consideration all comments and any additional information received on or before that date. You may submit written comments by one of the following methods. Please do not submit comments by both. FWS does not accept email or faxes.
 
Electronically:

  •  Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

  •  Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103.

By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public

  •  Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–MB–2019–0103;

  •  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: JAO/1N, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

 
The FWS seeks comments or suggestions from the public, governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific community, industry or any other interested parties. Areas for consideration include but are not limited to: potential reporting and monitoring strategies of cormorants by states and participating tribes; impacts on floodplains, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers or ecologically sensitive areas; impacts to other species of wildlife, including endangered or threatened species; and impacts on prime agricultural lands. Please see the Federal Register notice for more details.
 
The FWS will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will hold public scoping meetings in the form of multiple webinars in January 2020. 
 
More information about the rulemaking process, cormorants and meetings, including how to register, will be posted online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/managed-species/double-crested-cormorants.php.

FDA Releases Multi-Lingual Photonovels Encouraging Fish and Shellfish Consumption

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released four new photonovels—or comic-style graphic stories—that share information about eating fish and shellfish while pregnant and why including seafood in children’s diet can help their growth and development. The photonovels are available in EnglishSpanish, and Chinese and support the updated advice on eating fish from FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The photonovels emphasize:

  • Fish are part of a healthy eating pattern. Fish can have nutritional benefits for children’s growth during pregnancy and childhood. And, as part of a healthy eating pattern, eating fish may also offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity.

  • Choose a variety of fish that are lower in mercury. It is important to limit mercury in the diets of women who are or could become pregnant or who are breastfeeding and young children. There are many types of fish that are both nutritious and lower in mercury.

  • Do not eat raw fish. Raw fish is not recommended for pregnant women and young children. These groups often have weaker immune systems and are more at risk for foodborne illnesses. 

USAS-CFA-NAA Partner to Showcase US Aquaculture

During October 2019, the US Aquaculture SocietyCatfish Farmers of America and National Aquaculture Association organized a forum, US Aquaculture: Our Sustainable Food Solution, in Washington DC.  The organizations invited House and Senate members, their staff, and federal agency representatives for an in-depth series of presentations to showcase US aquaculture. The forum benefited from the generosity of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance which supported the forum and hosted a working lunch for the participants. 
 
The 2019 forum kicked-off a dedicated effort by the partnership to undertake an Initiative on Education that will consist of an annual forum in our Nation’s Capital to present opportunities for expansion and new technologies and address misconceptions and gaps in information.
 
The US Aquaculture Society has posted recordings for each of the presentations which can be viewed by clicking on the presentation titles.

U.S. Aquaculture: Our Sustainable Food Solution

Welcome
Kevin Wheeler, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
Office of the Under Secretary
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 
Welcome
Dr. Jeffrey Silverstein, Deputy Administrator
Animal Production and Protection
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
U.S. Aquaculture: Now and Beyond?
Jim Parsons, President
National Aquaculture Association
 
Introduction to Producer Story Series
Jimmy Avery, Extension Professor and Director
Delta Research and Extension Center
Mississippi State University
Producer Story: Catfish
          Producer Story: Oyster
          Producer Story: Trout
          Producer Story: Crawfish
          Producer Story: Baitfish
 
U.S. Aquaculture: Economic Opportunities in Rural and Coastal Economies
Carole Engle, Economist
Engle-Stone Aquatic$ LLC
 
Aquaculture and the Environment
Craig Tucker, Research Leader
Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
Solutions Through Applied Research and Extension
Caird Rexroad III, National Program Leader - Aquaculture
Agricultural Research Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
Regulatory Reform in Support of Growth of US Aquaculture
Sebastian Belle, Executive Director
Maine Aquaculture Association
 
Please join the partnership in thanking the sponsors, speakers and farmers that contributed their time, expertise and in-depth knowledge to produce an excellent, informative and persuasive forum.
 
Planning for the 2020 forum is in-progress. Contact the NAA Office if you would like to be involved or support the Initiative on Education by calling 850-216-2400 or naa@thenaa.net

USDA Releases the 2018 Census of Aquaculture Results

Total sales of aquaculture products in 2018 was $1.5 billion, an increase of 10.5% from 2013, according to the 2018 Census of Aquaculture released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 2018, there were 2,932 aquaculture farms with sales in the United States, down 5% from 2013. Five states – Mississippi, Washington, Louisiana, Virginia, and California – accounted for 51% of aquaculture sales and 37% of aquaculture farms in 2018.
 
“The 2018 Census of Aquaculture updates important information about the industry that we last produced in 2013,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “These valuable data tell the story of U.S. aquaculture, following and expanding on the Census of Agriculture. The information in the report helps trade associations, governments, agribusinesses, and others learn about aquaculture and make informed decisions that have a direct impact on the future of the industry.”
 
The 2018 Census of Aquaculture provides detailed information about production and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes. Data highlights include:

  • The average sales per farm was $516,944.

  • Sales of food fish was $716 million, a decrease of 2% from 2013.

  • The sales of mollusks was $441.8 million, an increase of 34% from 2013.

  • Crustacean sales in 2018 was $100.4 million, up 18% from 2013.

  • Catfish and oysters are the top species in both sales and number of farms.

  • Catfish sales, valued at $366.8 million, accounted for 51% of all food fish sales in 2018.

  • Oyster sales, valued at $284.9 million, accounted for 64% of mollusk sales in 2018.

  • Mississippi led the nation in total aquaculture sales in 2018 with $216 million.

An aquaculture farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of aquaculture products were produced and sold or distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreation during the census year. Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, and other aquaculture products. Farming involves some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic products caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds are considered wild caught and are not included as aquaculture.
 
The Census of Aquaculture is a Census of Agriculture Special Study, or follow-on, that expands on the data collected for 2017. The last Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2013. To access the 2018 Census of Aquaculture results and other agriculture census data, click here.

FWS Increases Double-Crested Cormorant Allocation to Individual Permits

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a notice in the Federal Register informing the public that the agency is increasing the annual maximum allowable take of double-crested cormorants to 74,396 per year through individual depredation permits. They are increasing this annual maximum allowable take of cormorants in response to an increased need by the public for additional authorized take of cormorants at aquaculture facilities.  
 
The Service already concluded that this level of authorized take of cormorants would maintain a stable cormorant population at levels as considered current in the Environmental Assessment (EA) published in November 2017. This 2017 EA evaluated options for issuing individual depredation permits to provide relief for aquaculture facilities experiencing direct economic losses from cormorants across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. The preferred alternative in the 2017 EA allowed a take of 51,571 cormorants per year, well below the lower limit of the Potential Take Limit model. This more conservative limit was taken to assess the continued need for individual permits and allow an adaptive approach if needed, while staying within the lower and upper limits, 73,396 to 108,954 birds, estimated by the model.  
 
By increasing the annual maximum allowable take to 74,396 per year, the Service aims to provide relief to aquaculture facilities that are suffering economic losses due to predation of their fish stocks by double-crested cormorants. The Service is focused on ensuring cormorants are managed responsibly and in compliance with federal laws and regulations while balancing economic development, human health and safety, endangered species management and other priorities. 
 
The Service will allocate the increased maximum allowable take across the regions and flyways proportionally and continue to track the issuance of depredation permits in real time to assess where allocation may need to be adjusted. This change will take effect immediately. 
 
The Service and the Department of Interior are committed to pursuing more comprehensive solutions for cormorant predation. They expect to publish an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Intend in the near future describing double-crested cormorant management alternatives for farm-raised and wild fish. The agency will share more information as soon as they can and look forward to working with the fish farming community on this endeavor.
 
The National Aquaculture Association offers our sincere appreciation to the offices of the Senators and Congressmen that assisted in improving double-crested cormorant management in lieu of the vacated Aquaculture Depredation Order and the action today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for responding positively to our several in-person and written requests.

NPDES Draft Permit - Kampachi Farms, LLC - Velella Epsilon (FL0A00001)

This is a courtesy email to inform you that the Environmental Protection Agency – Region 4 (EPA) will be holding a public hearing regarding the proposed issuance of an NPDES permit (FL0A00001) for the Kampachi Farms, LLC – Velella Epsilon marine aquaculture facility. The purpose of this public hearing is to receive your comments. A copy of the public notice is attached to this email.

 

The details for the public hearing are below:

Date:

January 28, 2020

Time:

5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Location:

WAVE Center

Mote Marine Laboratory

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway

Sarasota, FL 34236

 

All persons interested in this draft NPDES permit are invited to attend the public hearing. If you are interested in attending the hearing, EPA encourages you to pre-register at least 72 hours in advance. You may register to speak at the hearing when you pre-register online. You may also register to speak when you arrive at the hearing. Pre-registration can be done at the following website: https://projects.erg.com/conferences/npdes/register-publichearing.html.

 

The draft NPDES permit, draft Environmental Assessment, and other supporting documents can be found at https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-epa-region-4-southeast. The public comment period will be open through February 4, 2020. Information on how to submit comments can be found at that same website.

NAA Recommends Support for S 2209 Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) recommends support for legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) to create a disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations.
 
The Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019 (S 2209) would authorize a viable risk-management tool to help commercial fisheries and aquaculture to mitigate losses associated with market, weather, and other disaster conditions.
 
“Farmers and ranchers who experience serious losses have access to well-established USDA programs to help them survive down years.  Commercial fishermen, including aquaculture operations, do not have that option,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
 
Senator Hyde-Smith’s legislation would establish a permanent revenue-based disaster program to either replace or serve as an alternative to the “ad hoc” fishery disaster assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 
The assistance program would apply to all species whether commercially fished or farm raised, including shellfish (oysters, shrimp, crawfish, and crab), finfish (catfish), and “any other species of aquatic organism harvested with the intent of entering commerce.”
 
With or without a fishery disaster declaration, the bill would require the Secretary of Commerce to provide support payments based on a formula if actual total gross revenue for a given year falls below 85 percent of the average total gross revenue for the three previous years.
 
The new assistance program would begin with the 2019 calendar year and be subject to the availability of appropriated funding, such as the $150 million provided for fishery disaster assistance in the FY2019 Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on June 6, 2019.
 
A one-page summary of the bill is available here, and a copy of the legislation is available here.  Aquatic animal and plant farmers are urged to contact their Senators to support or co-sponsor S 2209 and to contact their House member to request a companion bill be introduced in the House. House and Senate members can be found here and here, respectively.

 

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Cell: 850-443-3456

http://thenaa.net/

USDA Issues Federal Order to Prevent the Introduction of TiLV to the US

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has responded to a request by the National Aquaculture Association and is issuing a Federal Order to prevent the entry or introduction of Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) into the United States.

 

This Federal Order requires that imported shipments of all live fish, fertilized eggs and gametes from TiLV-susceptible species now have a USDA import permit, official health certificate and veterinary inspection. 

 

The TiLV–susceptible species are:

 

  • Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

  • commercial hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus)

  • red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) and

  • wild tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus)

 

TiLV is a deadly disease of farmed and wild tilapia, and it poses a serious threat to U.S. agriculture.  TiLV does not affect humans, nor is it a food safety concern.  Signs of the disease in tilapia include cloudy or bulging eyes, skin lesions such as darkening, bruising, ulcers or protrusion of the gills, and abdominal swelling. Fish may be slow-moving and off feed.  There are no treatments or vaccines for the disease at this time.

 

TiLV was first detected in the United States in March 2019.  The disease was quickly contained and eradicated.

 

The Federal order may be viewed here and becomes effective December 12, 2019. For more information regarding the Federal Order, please contact Dr. Alicia Marston, Staff Veterinary Medical Officer, at 301-851-3361 or Alicia.R.Marston@usda.gov. For information concerning the NAA’s request for TiLV import control, please contact the NAA Office at 850-216-2400 or naa@thenaa.net.

FSA ELAP INFO.

ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by other disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, such as losses not covered by the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

USDA FSA Farm Storage Facility Loans

The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing so producers can build or upgrade facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables, floriculture, hops, maple sap, milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs, meat/poultry (unprocessed), rye and aquaculture. Eligible facility types include grain bins, hay barns, bulk tanks, and facilities for cold storage. Drying and handling and storage equipment is also eligible, including storage and handling trucks. Eligible facilities and equipment may be new or used, permanently affixed or portable.

Ag Sales Tax Exemptions in Florida

Throughout our 75 year history of being Florida’s largest agricultural advocacy organization, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation has worked to secure millions of dollars in sales tax exemptions for agricultural producers and family farms across the state.

To help Farm Bureau members navigate the complexity of Florida’s tax code, we have provided a listing of sales tax exemption certificates for agriculture as of July 1, 2017.

DOT Works to Help American Farmers by Collecting Public Comment

FMCSA announces regulatory guidance to clarify the applicability ofthe "Agricultural commodity" exception in the "Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers" regulations. This regulatory guidance clarifies the exception with regard to: (1) drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point; (2) drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source ofthe agricultural commodity; (3) determining the "source" of agricultural commodities under the exemptions; and (4) how the exception applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip. This regulatory guidance is issued to ensure consistent understanding and application ofthe exception by motor carriers and State officials enforcing HOS rules identical to or compatible with FMCSA's requirements.

FY2019 Funding Opportunity from GFSMC

GSFMC has $600,000 to provide grants involving aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. Proposals are due Sept. 19th.

Saudi Arabia Places Temp Hold on Nile Tilapia

NAA Action Alert: Saudi Arabia Temporailry Bans Nile Tilapia from 3 U.S. States Following Tilapia Lake Virus Outbreak

Filing Deadline for Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan

July 15th is the deadline for the US SBA federal economic injury disaster loans

FL Tilapia Aquaculture Meeting

FDACS Division of Aquaculture is hosting a FL Tilapia Aquaculture Meeting in Clewiston. Please see the attached agenda for more details. 

Spring 2019 Newsletter

What's new with the FAA? Get news, industry and certification updates here.

Annual Member Meeting Minutes

Here are the minutes from our annual meeting at Harbor Branch.

Regional Oyster Aquaculture Consortia Funding Opportunity

Each Interstate Marine Fisheries Commission is making approximately $850,000 available annually for the funding period of August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2024 (dependent on appropriations). The funding goal is to form Research Consortiums that will focus on oyster genetics, disease, environmental interactions, regulatory challenges and, economic modeling. Additionally, regional partnerships are encouraged to classify and preserve natural genetic variation in oysters.

Deadline: Pre-proposals must be submitted as a single file by e-mail no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on Friday, March 15, 2019.

Please see the request for proposals below for complete proposal details, qualifying requirements, and submission instructions.

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