FWC proposes change to oyster rules
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) proposed a draft rule amendment Thursday to help
oyster fishermen adjust to pending new restrictions that will
affect the time they are allowed to harvest and transport oysters
on the water in Florida.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services is developing a rule to require harvesters to deliver
their oysters to a certified dealer by 11:30 a.m. during May, June
and July, and by noon during August, September and October.
This action is being taken to meet new federal health safety
requirements for the oyster industry by ensuring that harvested
oysters are handled and processed during cooler morning hours in
Oyster harvesting is permitted only between sunrise
and sunset in Florida. Under the pending new rule, oyster
harvesters would be limited to working only in the morning hours
from May to October.
To maximize the time oyster harvesters would be
allowed to be on the water under the pending new time restraints,
the FWC is proposing to change an oyster rule provision that now
requires harvesters to stow their oyster tongs on their moored
vessels during nighttime hours. Under the new proposal, they would
be able to stow tongs on their vessels while they are in transit to
oyster bars from sunset to sunrise. This would give fishermen time
to leave their vessel-mooring site before dawn so they can begin
harvesting oysters at sunrise.
A final public hearing on the FWC's proposed oyster
rule amendment will take place during its April meeting in the