The Commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously voted to approve proposed draft rule changes that would close commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in Apalachicola Bay through December 31, 2025. Photo Credit: Erik Lovestrand, Florida Sea Grant
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has unanimously voted to shut down the state's iconic Apalachicola oyster fishery after years of drought and other pressures have devastated wild oyster beds. PC: NPR
"...changes in water salinity, habitat loss, overfishing, and other problems have decimated oyster populations, leading to today’s decision by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to halt wild oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay—a difficult but necessary step toward building healthier reefs that can support oystering in the future."
Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, FL offers a wonderful program that gives students the opportunity to volunteer under the supervision of a community sponsor in a career field that interests them. This semester, we were thrilled to have senior student Laura Stanley help the ABSI team.
Developing a Community Advisory Board composed primarily of Franklin County stakeholders is key to having a meaningful consensus-building process for the developmet and implementation of an ecosystem-based oyster management & restoration plan.
In a special report for the Orlando Sentinel, Kevin Spears interviews FSUCML’s Dr. Sandra Brooke and Dr. Felicia Coleman, amongst others, as he assesses the many contributing factors threatening the survival of oyster populations in the Apalachicola Bay and Cedar Key areas. Looking back on Apalachicola’s history, he paints a jarring picture of the Bay today, now merely a shadow of its former self as the “Oyster Capital of the World.”
Dr. Gary Ostrander, Vice President for Research at Florida State University, provides an overview of FSU’s newly awarded project, the Apalachicola Bay System Initiative, funded in part by the Triumph Gulf Coast fund. He makes it clear that FSU wants to hear from the community, one vehicle of which will be “ . . . an advisory board of community stakeholders to weigh in as we consider the best steps forward.”