New Research to Address Kelp Forest Crisis in California

News, Research
July 06, 2020
Media Contact— Katherine Leitzell / kleitzell@ucsd.edu / (858) 246-1661

Healthy Coastal and Marine Ecosystems

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce six new research projects aimed at restoring California’s kelp forests.

Led by some of the state’s top marine scientists, the newly funded projects will address key questions for kelp forest restoration and will directly inform the efforts of resource managers to protect and restore kelp ecosystems statewide.

The six projects in the 2020 Kelp Recovery Research Program total $2.1 million, funded jointly by California Sea Grant and the California Ocean Protection Council, in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

United States Department of Agriculture
USDA Office of Communications
press@oc.usda.gov Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Applications for New Commodities Accepted Beginning July 13  

(Washington, D.C., July 9, 2020) – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28, 2020, applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks.  “During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA have stood with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” said Secretary Perdue. “When we announced this program earlier this year, we asked for public input and received a good response. After reviewing the comments received and analyzing our USDA Market News data, we are adding new commodities, as well as making updates to the program for existing eligible commodities. This is an example of government working for the people – we asked for input and we updated the program based on the comments we received.”  

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020.  

Changes to CFAP include:
Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.

Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.

Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.

Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.  

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.  

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP program:

Using an online portal, accessible at farmers.gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. New commodities will be available in the system on July 13, 2020.

Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center. An updated version with the new commodities will be available on the website on July 13, 2020.

Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.  

USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.  

Getting Help from FSA
New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.  

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.  

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.    

Overview of the electronic Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS) for Aquatic Animal Exporters, Producers and their Veterinarians

The APHIS VS Aquaculture Team invites you to attend a ZOOM meeting on Monday, July 27 at 3 p.m. EDT for an overview of VEHCS specifically for aquatic animal/aquaculture producers, exporters and their veterinarians.  As of March 2020 all countries are now accepting some form of electronic submission for export health certificates. This ZOOM meeting will be an opportunity to hear an overview of VEHCS by Dr. Scott Squires, APHIS VS Assistant Veterinarian In Charge, Veterinary Export Trade Services, Gainesville, FL,  as well as an opportunity to ask questions.  Dr. Antonio Longo, a private veterinary practitioner, Miami, FL will also give an overview of VEHCS from a practitioner’s perspective.  Dr. Longo has successfully transitioned his aquaculture clients to the electronic system. APHIS is striving to have all export health certificates processed through VEHCS rather than routinely providing in-person endorsements at Ports, Service Centers or other locations.

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Bill calls for grant funding for projects to bolster US coastal, fishing communities

By Steve Bittenbender July 1, 2020

U.S. Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Florida) and Don Young (R-Alaska) filed a bill in Congress on Friday, 26 June, that calls for USD 3 billion (EUR 2.67 billion) in grants funding designed to restore the country’s coastal ecosystems, including fisheries.

The goal behind H.R. 7387, titled the “Shovel-Ready Restoration Grants for Coastlines and Fisheries Act of 2020,” is to fund resilience-building projects that could help coastal communities regain jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

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URGENT: Payroll Protection Plan update for vessel owners

June 26, 2020 — We at Saving Seafood have been working with the Commerce Department and the White House to address a problem with the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) that prevented vessel owners from applying, because under the IRS code they pay crew-members via 1099. We worked closely with David Frulla of Kelly Drye, David Borden of the Offshore Lobstermen’s Association, and Pamela Lafreniere of the Port of New Bedford, who all provided a great deal of technical assistance.

The issue is discussed at length on our Saving Seafood Coronavirus information portal, https://www.savingseafood.org/coronavirus/ .

The link to go directly to the PPP section is here.

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Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans Reopen and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Available Through June 30th, 2020

Updated guidance and deadlines for the PPP issued by SBA.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Deadline: The last day for approved applications to be submitted to the SBA under the Paycheck Protection Program will be June 30th, 2020. If you are working with a lender to submit an application for the PPP program, please ensure that the approvals are submitted prior to the close of the program. No new approvals will be accepted following June 30th, 2020 and many lenders are creating earlier cutoff dates for applicants to be sure all paperwork is finalized.

Updated Guidance: SBA has issued new guidance to PPP made possible by the signing of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (“The Flexibility Act”) on June 5th. These new rule changes cover the following provisions:

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New View of Shellfish Aquaculture and Eelgrass Interactions

TNC video screen captureThe Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working with Hog Island Oyster Company and the University of California Santa Cruz to assess the interactions between oyster aquaculture and eelgrass in Tomales Bay, California. The use of drones may help with these studies, and the validation of such aerial surveys could be highly valuable in both their perspective and economy (as this approach could be much less expensive than conventional side-scan sonar or diver-based methods). This TNC-produced video captures the study site and plan beautifully. The Tomales Bay studies are just beginning, so stay tuned to further developments and discussion.

Ventura Shellfish Enterprise plans model permitting strategy for new growers and re-vitalization of Port

MUSSEL UP | Ventura Harbor concept could become aquaculture blueprint for California and beyond

Quoting a recent article in the Ventura County Reporter by Chris O’Neal, “…when a group of entrepreneurial, scientifically minded individuals comes together for a project, big ideas can emerge. Such is the case of the Ventura Shellfish Enterprise — a proposed multiparty project that would allow for (20) 100-acre plots for growing mussels in state waters within the Santa Barbara Channel near Ventura Harbor.” Continue reading

Upcoming Webinar – Regulatory Costs of U.S. Aquaculture Businesses

The United States Aquaculture Society, National Aquaculture Association and North Central Regional Aquaculture Center are offering a free webinar focused on the regulatory costs incurred by bait and sportfish farmers. Many aquaculture producers and scientists have long pointed to an excessively burdensome regulatory environment in the United States as a constraint to growth and development of aquaculture. However, there has been little research done to determine the magnitude of the specific costs incurred by aquaculture producers as they comply with regulations.

This 1-hour webinar will present results of the first-ever study to measure the specific costs of regulations and how these costs affect U.S. baitfish and sportfish farms. While this study focused on baitfish and sportfish farms, results are likely to be of interest to the broader aquaculture community and to state regulatory agencies. New studies under development to similarly measure regulatory costs on U.S. West Coast shellfish growers and trout and salmon farmers will also be discussed.

Date and Time: Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 3:00 PM Eastern.

Duration: 60 minutes.

To Register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1b9f24b2117490ab7c24e00bf0acd2b8

Presenter: Dr. Carole Engle is an Aquaculture Economist with more than 35 years of experience in the analysis of economics and marketing issues related to aquaculture businesses. She has worked in 19 different countries, has published over 112 scientific articles, serves as Executive Editor of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society and Editor-in-Chief of Aquaculture Economics and Management.