U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today welcomed the announcement made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to disburse $6,310,216 of new disaster assistance funding aimed to restore the oyster fishery in Apalachicola Bay Florida.
On August 12, 2013, a federal fisheries disaster was declared for the oyster fishery along the northwest coast of Florida due to excessive drought conditions in Apalachicola Bay and elsewhere in the Florida Panhandle that have caused the regional economy to suffer significantly. Historically, the Apalachicola Bay region has produced 90 percent of Florida's oysters and 10 percent of the oysters supplied to the entire country.
"I welcome today's long-awaited announcement to provide disaster assistance to Apalachicola Bay. This news is much-needed relief for the small business owners and families who were severely impacted by this disaster," said Rubio. "During my trip to the region last year, I saw firsthand how essential a thriving oyster industry is to Florida's Panhandle, and I am happy to see that we will finally start getting Florida's oyster industry back on track.
"While I welcome today's announcement, I remain committed to ensuring that we eventually reach a long-term solution to this problem, including restoring water flows to Apalachicola Bay," added Rubio. "I will continue seeking a permanent solution to this, and look forward to working toward a full economic recovery for Florida's invaluable oyster fishery."
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