Apalachicola Bay commercial oyster bag limit lowered to 3 – Oyster reefs ‘in worse shape’

107680-004-B54E21CCThe commercial bag limit for oysters in Apalachicola Bay will be lowered to three bags per harvester during the winter season, Sept. 1 through May 31. Several other oyster conservation measures implemented previously will also continue this winter season. These changes are effective in all of Apalachicola Bay, including all waters of Indian Lagoon in Gulf County. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began implementing conservation measures in the fall of 2014 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. Read the post here Oyster reefs ‘in worse shape’ – “We’re in worse shape. We’ve got to have river flow, that’s the first thing.” None of the SMARRT leadership seated at the front table disputed Estes’ findings. “I couldn’t get 100 legal oysters from there, and I moved around,” said SMARRT chair Shannon Hartsfield, referring to Dry Bar North and Green Point, reefs in the western portion of the bay, which in three separate surveys this summer yielded no more than 15 bags per acre to FWC surveyors. Read the article here 13:12