Apalachicola Bay oyster changes remain through summer

{Special to The Star}

APALACHICOLA — Several oyster conservation measures implemented previously will continue in Apalachicola Bay during the summer season, June 1 through Aug. 31. These changes are effective in all approved Shellfish Harvest Area waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Lagoon in Gulf County.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began implementing conservation measures in the fall of 2012 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.

The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay.

Regulations effective June 1 through Aug. 31 include:

  • Commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in areas north of John Gorrie Memorial Bridge is prohibited.
  • Harvest or possession of oysters taken in or on waters from the Hotel Bar Experimental Area is prohibited.
  • Commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole is prohibited.
  •  The daily commercial harvest and possession limit is three bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets).
  •  The daily recreational harvest and possession limit is 5 gallons of oysters in the shell per person or per vessel, whichever is less.
  •  From June 1 through Aug. 31, commercial and recreational oyster harvest is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

All other harvest regulations remain in effect.

To learn more about commercial oyster harvest, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”