Florida takes first strike at algae problem


Florida has taken the lead in assisting local businesses impacted by the presence of blue-green algal blooms in local waterways.

In the Sunshine State, Gov. Rick Scott has activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program for businesses affected by the growing problems of algal blooms in local waterways. It’s believed to be the first state to take such positive action and could be a model for the many other states whose small businesses are enduring the same negative economic impact.

The program provides short-term loans to assist a business until other financial resources, such as a U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan, are secured following a natural disaster. Scott recently declared four Florida east coast counties disaster areas.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity activated a virtual business emergency operations center to survey businesses affected by the algal blooms. After receiving more than 50 surveys from local businesses, the department officially opened the application period for loans to eligible small businesses from July 14 to Aug. 31. executive director Cissy Proctor said,

Marine businesses can review their eligibility or complete an application by Aug. 31 by visiting www.floridadisaterloan.org. Or, for additional questions regarding local administration of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact representatives from the Florida Small Business Development Centers.

Big fines increase

On Tuesday, all US Department of Labor and Fair Trade Commission civil penalty fines skyrocketed and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas wants you to be informed through a special webinar slated set for Wednesday.

The MRAA teamed up with its supporting member KPA, a firm specializing in a variety of risk management areas including environmental health and safety. They are providing a free webinar to provide dealers with an overview of the fine increases and some of the most common violations companies face.

Thanks to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, OSHA fines will increase by 78 percent, while EPA and FTC civil fines will increase by up to 150 percent. Joining the MRAA/KPA webinar will also provide you with a better understanding of your responsibilities for OSHA, Fair Labor Standards Act, US Citizen and Immigration Services, EPA and FTC compliance.

When: Wednesday, Aug. 3 at noon (Eastern).

Where: On your computer.

If you cannot attend the webinar, MRAA says you can still benefit. Simply register anyway and you will be sent a link to a recording of the webinar along with the presentation slides. Click here to register.


Snapper Quotas in Flux Again

NOAA Fisheries wants Gulf Coast states to revert back to the data collection model that the recreational fishing community has widely criticized.