The Florida Sea Grant (FSG) program obtained a grant from NOAA to conduct a “rapid response” project to help stakeholders financially as a result of COVID-19. The Cedar Key Aquaculture Association (CKAA) will manage the purchase and delivery of clams to be sited in the Indian River Lagoon by faculty with the UF Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.
A cooperative research project will purchase live excess aquacultured clams, some of which will have “sized out” of the commercial market or will die due to diminished sales from COVID-19 closures, in order to directly help growers and test the use of larger clams for habitat restoration and water quality improvement.
Clams will be harvested from active lease sites in the Gulf of Mexico and delivered to Cedar Key for tumbling, counting and aggregation. Clams will then be transported and sited on the east coast, in the Indian River Lagoon. The site will be incorporated into this project for ongoing monitoring.
Clams will be purchased and sited in September and October 2020.
See delivery schedule here.
In addition to adding to the market for hard clams and thereby helping clam growers, this project also allows for testing the success of using larger and more genetically diverse clams to generate ecosystem services from restoration using clams. Since UF already has similar experiments in the Indian River Lagoon, the personnel, monitoring infrastructure, and public support already exists for tracking the progress of this project. And, sites were already approved for aquaculture and monitored no-take zones.
FSG will work with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to obtain the list of Gulf Coast growers with active leases (i.e., met audit requirements for 2019) and contact each leaseholder using the information provided to FDACS.
Eligible growers will have an opportunity to apply to participate by completing an online form during the application period (i.e., noon September 12th through noon September 15th, 2020.
Due to the potential for poor weather and rescheduling, all communications for this program will be electronic. Program details will be sent to the email address on record by FDACS and letters will be sent to direct leaseholders to the email. See below for copies of the communications:
• Letter sent via USPS
Need more information?
• Questions and comments can be sent to the project email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call Sandi Reveille at the Florida Sea Grant main office in Gainesville (352-392-5870).
• View the full proposal by clicking HERE