Commercial Regulations for Oysters

Oyster Regulations

A bag equals two five-gallon buckets, one 10-gallon bucket or 60 lbs. of culled oysters in the shell.Oyster Working

Undersized oysters must be culled immediately upon harvest and returned to the reef from which they were harvested. Undersized oysters may number no more than five percent (by count) of unattached oysters per bag and no more than 15 percent (by count) attached (such that separation would destroy either oyster) per bag. Vessels connected together, such as towing, may only claim one bag limit all together.

Commercial and recreational harvest by any person during the same day is prohibited.

Bycatch from trawling or dragging any gear over a public oyster bar should be returned to the water as closely as possible to the beds where taken and transport and sale of bycatch or oysters taken intentionally is prohibited. Wholesale and retail dealers may not sell oysters unless they are labeled and traceable to the point of harvest.

Upon leaving an area, harvesters must pass through a monitoring station when in operation. Harvest on leased parcels is subject to the established rules unless otherwise exempted by the approved lease provisions.

Harvest from public reefs is prohibited from July 1 - Sept. 30, except as provided below.

In Wakulla, Dixie and Levy Counties, harvest is prohibited from June 1 - Aug. 31.

In Indian River County, harvest is prohibited within 75 feet of the shoreline of the Indian River, any canal bank or any privately owned submerged lands or dock without written permission of the owner. 

In Volusia County, oysters harvested from an approved public bar may not be stockpiled onto a lease.

Apalachicola Bay Season

Closed days/Areas/Bag Limit

June 1 - Aug. 31

Closed on Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 31, 2013.

Harvest is allowed only in areas referenced in
paragraph 5L - 1.003(1).  Table 2 of the DACS
Comprehensive Shellfish Control Code.

July 1 - Sept. 30

20 Bags per person per day or vessel, whichever
is less.

Oct. 1 - June 30

20 bags per person per day.

Nov. 16 - May 31

Closed on Saturdays and Sundays starting Nov. 23, 2013 through May 31, 2014.

 *Apalachicola Bay includes St. George Sound, East Bay, Apalachicola Bay, and St. Vincent Sound and their canals, channels, rivers and creeks; and Indian Lagoon and its canals, channels, rivers and creeks.


Oyster Management

The commercial harvest of oysters in Apalachicola Bay will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 23, 2013, through May 31, 2014. When resources on monitored oyster bars cannot sustain a harvest of 300 bags of oysters per acre, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations provide for the automatic weekend closure of the oyster harvest in Apalachicola Bay. This change does not apply to active oyster leases or recreational harvest. 

FWC Facts:
The Gulf sturgeon spawns 140 miles upstream from the mouth of the Suwannee River, one of the last pristine rivers with no dams to bar its path.

Learn More at AskFWC