2018-06-28 / News

State denies Getty aquafarm grant

The state has declined financial aid for the town to establish a public private aquaculture partnership at Fort Getty.

According to the grant application, the town was asking for $20,000 to build floating upwellers near the fishing pier that could be leased to an aquaculture farmer. The intent was to grow juvenile oysters, also called spat, which would be sold to the five local shellfish companies operating in waters surrounding Conanicut Island.

The money is made available through the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act established in 2012. The town submitted the application March 1.

The site was described as the “ideal spot for growing oyster spat due to its location inside the mouth of Dutch Harbor, which provides tremendous tidal flushing yet is protected from wave action by its location close to the peninsula of Fort Getty.”

Moreover, the application indicates upwellers could be used by the Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation for educational purposes during its summer camp.

The town indicated the project would cost $32,000, which means $12,000 would be financed through municipal dollars.

In his rejection letter, Ken Ayers, chief of the state’s agriculture bureau, said more than 70 applications totaling $900,000 were considering during this round of grants. Ultimately, 21 grants were awarded. Ayers credited the town for its “level of hard work, good thinking and creativity.”

Andy Nota, town administrator, said this is a setback, although it will not halt efforts to support the seafood industry and local commercial fishermen.

— Tim Riel

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