Washington State to Provide $300K in Grants to Shellfish Growers Impacted by COVID-19
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Commerce has announced $300,000 is available for grants to shellfish growers impacted by declining exports and restaurant sales due to COVID-19.
Local and global market demand for Washington’s world-renowned shellfish has dropped dramatically since January, with some growers reporting revenue declines of 80-90% over last year.
Washington is the leading U.S. producer of farmed oysters and clams.
The Washington Department of Commerce is partnering with the State Department of Agriculture to fund the grants with $250,000 from the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program and $50,000 from WSDA’s Rural Rehab Program.
“Washington’s shellfish growers have had this current season devastated by the global pandemic. We are providing needed funds now so that our small shellfish growers in particular, can make timely purchases of seed and larvae this summer to keep next season’s sales opportunities alive,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We are hopeful that additional federal assistance for fisheries and aquaculture will be made available but we are stepping up as a state to help these growers.”
“These grants are one way we can help our state’s $300-million industry and the approximately 3,000 jobs it supports, many of them in rural communities already struggling economically,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown.
“Some shellfish growers have successfully applied for federal resources, such as Small Business Administration loans, yet many are not in a position to take out additional loans or even qualify for these federal resources,” Brown continued.
The concerns of Washington’s shellfish industry extend to approximately nine West Coast hatcheries from California to British Columbia that supply shellfish growers in Washington and beyond. These hatcheries have experienced a significant drop in sales to growers.
“Our state’s aquaculture industry is coping with an unprecedented series of challenges that have resulted from this on-going pandemic afflicting our state and much of the world,” WSDA director Derek Sandison said. “My hope is that these grants, coming at this critical time, will help the industry weather this difficult storm.”
To both growers and hatchery owners, the cost of seed and larvae represents significant components of their cost models. Reduction in revenue caused by the coronavirus has growers worried about not having enough funds to purchase seed to plant out next year’s crops or offset the cost of raising seed.
The Department of Commerce and WSDA will work with Impact Washington to administer the funding through the Washington Shellfish Industry Seed Bank. Qualified growers may apply for up to $5,000, with a minimum of $1,000 available to reimburse for larvae and seed purchases. Qualified purchases made between Feb. 29, 2020 and June 30, 2021 are eligible for reimbursement.
An additional $300 “Buy Washington” will be offered to encourage purchasing from Washington-based hatcheries, rather than out-of-state sources.
“The Shellfish Industry Seed Bank’s core objective is to create equity for Washington shellfish growers, ensure assistance is available to the majority of our growers, and help Washington-based businesses retain jobs by getting relief out quickly,” said Deloit R. Wolfe, Jr., president and center director of Impact Washington. “This program will reduce the potential multi-year economic impact on the shellfish businesses that might lead to the collapse of one of the state’s key industry sectors.”
More information is available on the Washington Department of Commerce website here.
In The News
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill. The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5. That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary... Read More
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More