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August 23, 2014

Some thirty-five Cedar Key Aquaculture Association members, feasting on mouth-watering Island Pizzeria pizza, met at the Community Center this past Thursday evening, August 21, 2014, at 6pm for their general membership meeting and to develop an industry action plan for marketing, research, and marine debris.   

Chairperson Rose Cantwell welcomed all and reported that one major goal is a statewide web portal, complete with live streaming, that can function as a good resource for customers and serve the aquaculture community as well.

On the occasion of her now stepping down, the Association presented Cantwell with six dozen red roses, one for each year of her chairmanship.

Currently two positions are open for the upcoming 2014-2015 year on the CKAA, Inc., Board of Directors.   Four candidates are nominated to fill the seats: Christine Ford, David McCumbers, Peter Stefani, and Bobby Witt.  Ballots must be returned by August 31.

Leslie Sturmer reported on several initiatives.  Regarding Project VENUS, a CKAA committee assisted in developing guidelines for project participation and will continue to provide guidance during the three-year project through public-private partnership.  Regarding the Clam Economic Impact Study, the CKAA Board worked with UF economists reviewing a survey to be mailed to state wholesalers to obtain economic data on the impact of the industry in 2012. 

Board Member Sue Colson spoke about:  the CKAA donating $1,000 to the new pump-out station in the outer marina; the CKAA exhibit being re-exhibited during the Museum on Main Street’s six-week visit in Cedar Key; her intent to contact aquaculture workers so that they might gain access to the Affordable Care Act coverage.



The evening featured three speakers, each of whom spoke for only ten minutes.

  • Martin May, Chief of Seafood and Aquaculture, Division of Marketing and Development, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, based in Tallahassee.  May explained the five-question survey his office asks of fisheries and from which he is able to judge the overall “state of affairs” in general terms. 
  • Dr. Huiping Yang, UF, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, based in Gainesville.  Yang's presence is the result of the CKAA's assistance in obtaining funding of a faculty position at UF.  Yang overviewed her credentials and expressed her happiness being here and her readiness to work with members. 
  • Paul Zajicek, Environmental Administrator, Division of Aquaculture,    Department of Agriculture and ConsumerServices, based in Tallahassee.  Zajicek overviewed the state of marine debris around Cedar Key.  He reported on a project that studied the debris in the area and found a great deal, much of it aquaculture debris.  He further reported cleaning up all the debris at a sizeable cost and much effort, only to find it now debris-laden again.  He advised members repercussions must necessarily occur should the situation continue.  To ease the debris disposal process for aquaculturists, seven dumpsters are placed around town.

     Pictured below are Martin May, Huiping Yang, and Paul Zajicek.


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Members broke down into three groups, each led by one of the above speakers.   Members voiced their ideas as to what is needed to move the industry forward.  Then each person ranked the ideas generated to determine priorities and provide guidance for state agencies and university representatives.    Results will be tabulated and reported upon soon.

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Pictured above are Rose Cantwell, Huiping Yang, Leslie Sturmer, and Sue Colson.