Fate of Apalachicola Bay, seafood industry, could hang on upcoming Supreme Court test

thDER19RM8A special master of the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled a trial for Oct. 31 in Florida’s lawsuit against Georgia over the river system they share — and with the latest in a series of droughts threatening, downstream users say the fate of the Apalachicola Bay could well be at stake. “That last drought we had — if we get just half of that, this bay may never be able to rebuild itself,” said Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers’ Association. Florida sued Georgia in 2013, contending that Georgia’s overconsumption of water had reduced freshwater flows from the top of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, near metro Atlanta, to the Florida Panhandle, home of the Apalachicola Bay. Georgia denies it, arguing that Florida’s mismanagement of the bay is to blame for its woes. The Apalachicola Bay’s seafood industry was once a formidable economic driver for the region, producing 90 percent of Florida’s oysters and 10 percent of the nation’s supply. Its commercial and recreational fishing industries generated $200 million a year and supported 85 percent of the local population. But no more. Read the story here 13:17