Friday, Governor Rick Scott announced that in response to the impacts of Tropical Storm Debby on the Apalachicola Bay, the State of Florida received approval for a $2.7 million National Emergency Grant to provide temporary employment for those Franklin County residents who were adversely impacted due to the decline of oysters and other fisheries in the region. The state of Florida made the request for disaster assistance to the U.S. Department of Labor in October.
Governor Scott said, “In October I met with families in Franklin County and saw their frustration and desire to return to the jobs they love. Apalachicola Bay is home to some of the best fisheries and oysters in the world, and we’re committed to getting much needed support to the area. This funding will provide desperately needed employment and paychecks to those hardworking families who have been impacted. This support will also help put families back to work and begin the road to recovery.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) coordinated with the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Board and the local community to develop a temporary jobs project to reshell the Bay and help it recover and re-open to harvesting. The Grant is provided by the Department of Labor and totals $2,699,712, which will go towards hiring 200 dislocated oystermen, working under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and the local Seafood Workers Association to reshell the Bay with live and dead oyster material from unaffected areas of the Bay to those oyster bars damaged by the storm. The reshelling project will operate through June 30, 2013.
“Under Governor Scott’s direction, DEO coordinated with our fellow state agencies, Franklin County and the local workforce board to develop the most effective plan to respond to this disaster and get the necessary resources and supplies to those affected,” said DEO Executive Director Hunting F. Deutsch. “I’m proud of the assistance we’ve been able to provide to the region and I look forward to continuing to assist Franklin County and its residents going forward.”