APALACHICOLA, Fla. (AP) -- The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved an economic injury declaration Gov. Rick Scott requested for parts of the Florida Panhandle affected by the collapse of the commercial oyster fishery.
Franklin, Gulf, Liberty and Wakulla counties are included in the declaration approved Friday. Small businesses will be eligible for as much as $2 million in low-interest loans.
The oyster shortage has been blamed on a lack of freshwater flowing into Apalachicola Bay. Last month, Florida filed a lawsuit accusing Georgia of consuming too much fresh water from a river system that serves three Southeastern states.
In a statement Friday, Scott said declaration was a "great victory in our fight for the Florida families who rely on our commercial oyster industry to make a living."