Saving Florida’s oysters is a shell game. The right answer is under three domes. Try to follow while the cups whizz by, shifting, swirling. Shell 1: An empty oyster bay. Unemployment. Poverty. But also history. Culture. Shell 2: A slick farming industry that could render the Florida oysterman finally, permanently extinct. Shell 3: The government, doling out money and regulations that might do more harm than good. In a place where everybody’s livelihood is yoked to the water, you have to follow the shells. T.J. Ward was born the year after his grandfather had the throat cancer surgery. T.J. never heard his natural voice. The seaman’s single clap would cut through the salt air on the docks of Apalachicola louder than words could. >click to read<15:00

Apalachicola – economy hit hard by oyster shortage

Five generations of Philip Vinson’s family have labored using tongs to pull oysters from  Bay’s shallow waters. He fears there won’t be a sixth. The local oyster industry is under threat from water-flow issues, environmental concerns, health and safety regulations and economic realities. Restaurants from New Orleans to Tampa and beyond tout Apalachicola oysters as the tastiest oysters around, but the annual harvest has been in decline. Read the rest here 10:55

Florida oysters in crisis: ‘Our industry needs to be shut down,’ Apalachicola seafood rep says

Things in the bay have gotten so bad, oyster fishermen can barely pull out enough oysters to pay for the gas their boats use, said Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association. “Our industry needs to be shut down,” When reached by phone, Hartsfield stood by those remarks and said that while his members are afraid of the consequences of closing the fishery, they know something has to change. Read the rest here  12:24

Rubio, Nelson Hold Field Hearing On Oyster Collapse In Apalachicola

Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio headed the field hearing because Congress has the authority to direct the US Corps of Engineers to provide the freshwater flows necessary to save the Appalacicola Bay. [email protected]

FWC asked to help save oyster industry APALACHICOLA

“If we don’t get something done in the next one-and-a-half years, we’re not going to have a bay,” said Shannon Hartsfield, a fourth-generation oysterman who serves as president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association.