New York State is prioritizing the growth of the local agricultural, food, and beverage industry. This month, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, Richard Ball, announced that more than $42 million in grant money was awarded, including $625,000 to support shellfish and fishing industries on the East End. Of the latter, $400,000 goes to the Town of East Hampton, $100,000 to the Manna Farms for Shinnecock Dock revitalization, and $125,000 to Haskell’s Seafood in East Quogue, to become a fully functioning seafood processing facility.
“Haskell’s Seafood is committed to working with only local Long Island seafood as well as promoting the lesser known underutilized seafoods of our area,” said Captain Pete Haskell. “That commitment is a reflection of the hardworking men and women on our waters that provide access to our vibrant wild caught fisheries 365 days a year. As the state and Empire State Development has recognized our mission as a priority for our region, we aim to share that recognition with our local fishing community as we expand, promote local Long Island seafood, and together carry our collective fishing heritage and culture into the future.”
Donna Lanzetta of Manna Farms was enthusiastic about the grant. “Manna Fish Farms and the Shinnecock Fish Dock greatly appreciate the financial support from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, Empire State Development, and Governor Cuomo toward upcoming planned improvements to the Shinnecock Fish Dock,” she said. “The planned improvements include: upgraded equipment for ice, electricity, and water, as well as dock improvements for safety, all with the intention to maintain continued efficient operations of commercial pack out at the site.”
The money given to East Hampton to consolidate the municipal hatchery and nursery facilities to one site adjacent to its existing nursery system on Gann Road is a bit more complicated, since the entire amount requested was not received, and once the grant money is accepted, it needs to be utilized.
“The town has been awarded $400,000 from the state Economic Development Council for the shellfish hatchery/nursery consolidation project,” said Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc in a statement. “However, we did not receive the entire amount applied for under that grant, nor a grant for $2 million that was requested from another state funding source, so the board will have to decide the future and/or timeline of the project, which would include siting the hatchery at Gann Road and creating a hatchery office and educational center at the 36 Gann Road property that has already been purchased for $2.1 million.” The estimate for the entire project, including land purchase, was $4.9 million.
Commissioner Ball said, “We have a dynamic and diverse agricultural industry in New York State and some of the best food and beverage businesses in the world. These operations are driving our economy and creating jobs, especially as we look toward high-tech innovations that are helping these businesses increase capacity and ensure environmental sustainability. I thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development, and the Regional Councils for recognizing the importance of agriculture and for investing in thefuture of this industry.”