Florida’s aquaculture sees $34.1M loss after Hurricane Idalia
October 12, 2023
By Aquaculture North America staff
Shellfish farmers at Two Docks Shellfish in Ruskin, Fla., are saying they’re tight on clam 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.
According to a report from ABC Action News, Welch said freshwater flooded the bay during Hurricane Ian last year, killing millions of clams.
He said that the enormous storm surge following Hurricane Idalia wiped out millions more clams in hard-hit Cedar Key where he does business with clam growers.
“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.”
With aquaculture being the primary industry in Cedar Key, the state estimates that Florida shellfish processors and others in the aquaculture industry have lost over US$34.1 million from Hurricane Idalia.
Shellfish farming infrastructure and materials also suffered significant damage. “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 US$2 million,” said Timothy Solano, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association board member.
Clam growers said consumers will feel also the impact of the shortage in supply.
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