TALLAHASSEE – Today, Governor Rick Scott requested from the U.S. Small Business Administration an Economic Injury Declaration for Franklin County as a result of impacts to the region’s commercial oyster fishery.
Congressman Steve Southerland said, “I appreciate Governor Scott’s tireless efforts to strengthen Franklin County’s economy, specifically its once-thriving oyster industry. An Economic Injury Declaration through the SBA would be a critical step forward for local small businesses that are struggling to survive in the wake of our commercial oyster fishery failure. I look forward to continuing working with the Governor to get our oystermen and hardworking families in Franklin County back on their feet.
Senator Bill Montford said, “Governor Scott has been a staunch supporter of the issues we face here in North Florida. It is high time we send some support to the families in Franklin County and so I am grateful for this declaration.”
Representative Halsey Beshears said, “Families of Franklin County appreciate all that Governor Scott has done to support the area’s fisheries. This declaration is a must for the region, and the federal government would be wise to quickly fulfill the Governor’s request.”
October 23, 2013
Mr. Timothy R. F. Skaggs,
Director, Field Operations Center-East
United States Small Business Administration
101 Marietta Street, NW, Suite 700
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
RE: Request for SBA Economic Injury Declaration – Franklin County, Florida
Dear Mr. Skaggs:
I am writing to request that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issue an Economic Injury Declaration for Franklin County, Florida. The economy of Franklin County, Florida is suffering a significant injury due to a failure of its commercial oyster fishery. The associated economic injury meets the threshold for an SBA declaration, as set forth in the attached supporting documentation.
The economy of Apalachicola and Franklin County is tied inextricably to the commercial seafood industry, which is heavily dependent on a healthy natural ecosystem. In the summer of 2012, the State of Florida experienced an unprecedented decline in the supply of oysters within Apalachicola Bay, resulting from a lack of necessary freshwater inflows to support productive oyster communities. The collapse of the oyster fishery caused a significant loss of income to commercial oyster fishermen, oyster processors, and rural coastal communities. As a result, many businesses in Franklin County have experienced economic injury.
I have enclosed materials supporting the Economic Injury Declaration attached as exhibits. They include a certification of the economically injured business by county, a report of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission supporting the oyster fishery disaster submittal, and a letter from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce determining that a fishery resource disaster occurred for the oyster stocks primarily in the Apalachicola Bay area during the 2012-2013 harvesting season.
Based on this information and in accordance with Title 13 C.F.R. Part 123.3(5), I certify that at least five small businesses in the disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and are in need of financial assistance not otherwise available on reasonable terms. Accordingly, I request that the Small Business Administration make an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration for Franklin County and offer low-interest SBA disaster loans to the affected businesses.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter. If additional information is required to assist you in your determination, please contact Joseph Borras, Bureau of Recovery, Florida Division of Emergency Management, at (850) 487-3987.
cc: Bryan W. Koon, Director
Enclosure: Governor’s Certification