Commercial Regulations for Oysters

News: EO 15-18 Restrictions for September 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016 for Commercial and Recreational Oyster Harvest from the Apalachicola Bay System Adobe PDF

Bag Limits: A bag equals two five-gallon buckets, one 10-gallon bucket or 60 lbs. ofOyster Working culled oysters in the shell.

Bay County: Bag limit is 10 per person or vessel through June 30, 2016.

Minimum Size Limit: 3 inches or more

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.

Seasons:

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

 

Apalachicola Bay Season*

Closed Days/Areas

Daily Bag Limit 

June 1 - Aug. 31, 2015

Closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays June 1-16 (recreational and commercial)

Closed Saturdays and Sundays July 20-Aug. 28 (recreational and commercial)

East Hole closed

5 bags per person commercial limit

5 gallons in shell per person or vessel, whichever is less, recreational limit

Sept. 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016

Closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

East Hole closed, except on Mondays

Portions of areas 1612 and 1622 closed

Commercial oysters must be brought to one of two monitoring stations from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day prior to being sold.

Stations are at Patton Street boat ramp in Eastpoint and Lombardi's Landing in Apalachicola.

4 bags per person,
commercial limit

5 gallons in shell per person or vessel, whichever is less, recreational limit

*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.

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

Other regulations:

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.

Oyster Management

 

Nov. 1, 2015:

  • Commercial harvesters of wild oysters are required starting Nov. 2 to bring their catch to one of two monitoring check stations each day commercial harvesting is allowed. The monitoring stations are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are at the Patton Street boat ramp in Eastpoint and at Lombardi’s Landing in Apalachicola. Oysters will be checked at these stations to verify oyster size and bag limits. Bags of oysters will then be tagged with special tags, indicating that the bag had gone through a check station. Processing facilities will then be monitored for properly tagged bags, and for accountability tags.

Sept. 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016:

  • Closing commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole, except on Mondays;
  • Lowering the daily commercial harvest and possession limit from 20 to four bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets);
  • Lowering the daily recreational harvest per person, vessel and possession limit to 5 gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day; a bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets);
  • Closing commercial and recreational oyster harvest on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Closing portions of two other shellfish harvesting areas (Area 1622, and Area 1612, south of a line running due east from the mouth of Sheepshead Bayou.)  

June 1-Aug. 31, 2015:

  • Closing commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole.
  • Lowering the daily commercial harvest and possession limit from 20 to five  bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets).
  • Lowering the daily recreational harvest per person, vessel and possession limit all to 5 gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day; a bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets).
  • Closing commercial and recreational oyster harvest on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 1 through July 16.
  • Closing commercial and recreational harvest on Saturdays and Sundays from July 20 through Aug. 28.

May 2015: East Hole opened for harvest on May 7, 14, 21 and 28 in an effort to help break up oyster clumps and allow smaller oysters to grow to legal size (3 inches or more), quickening the recovery of this area. Shelling, the practice of improving habitat conditions by adding oyster shells and other materials so that young oysters, known as spat, have something to grow on, was conducted on this area in February 2013. Since then, oysters have grown in the area but are currently in clumps, which can slow the growth of smaller oysters.

Sept. 1-May 31, 2015:

  • Closing commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole;
  • Lowering the daily commercial harvest and possession limit from 20 to five  bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets);
  • Lowering the daily recreational harvest per person, vessel and possession limit all to 5 gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day; a bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets);
  • Closing commercial and recreational oyster harvest on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Closing two other shellfish harvesting areas (Area 1601, also known as Porters Bar and Platform Bar, and Area 1611, which includes Bayou Flats and Pickalene Bar), if the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) determines the area known as Cat Point (Area 1642) should be closed to harvest due to water-quality concerns. FDACS regularly monitors shellfish harvesting areas for water-quality standards and closes and reopens these areas based on whether standards are met to safely harvest shellfish for consumption.

All other harvest regulations remain in effect.

 

From June 1-Aug. 31, 2014:

  • the commercial harvest of oysters in Apalachicola Bay is closed on Fridays and Saturdays;
  • the area known as East Hole is closed;
  • the daily commercial harvest and possession limit is lowered from 20 to eight bags (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets) of oysters in the shell per person;
  •  the daily recreational harvest, vessel and possession limit has been lowered to five gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day with one bag being equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets).


FWC Facts:
In order to stick to plants, larval spotted gar have suction snouts that later become the long, teeth-filled snout.

Learn More at AskFWC