Conservation-based oyster harvest changes effective Sept. 1 in Apalachicola Bay
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) implemented conservation measures in an effort to help the Apalachicola Bay oyster population recover from the effects of low river flow. Apalachicola Bay oyster populations have significantly declined in recent years due to lack of sufficient fresh water flows in the Apalachicola River. This new suite of conservation measures enhances those the FWC put into place for the 2013 winter and 2014 summer seasons. The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay to make sure this critical natural resource is protected.
These changes will be in effect from Sept. 1 through May 31, 2015, in Apalachicola Bay, including all waters of Indian Lagoon in Gulf County.
Changes effective Sept. 1 include:
- 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.
Learn more about commercial oyster harvest by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”