Friday, October 12, 2012

FWC busting oystermen for harvesting at night in closed waters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is spending a little more time on the water at night looking for oystermen who are working in closed waters and at times of day that oystering is not allowed.

Since local oysters are getting harder to finds, the price has increased and that has more oystermen willing to take a chance and break the law.

Officers held a detail from September the 9th through the 24th on the waters of Apalachicola and Ochlockonee Bays focused on catching commercial oyster harvesters were harvesting at night and within closed waters.

Vessel patrols were conducted for ten nights throughout the duration of the detail.

Seven vessels and nine harvesters were inspected.

Seven misdemeanor citations were issued for night harvest of oysters.

Nine misdemeanor citations were issued for harvesting oysters from closed waters.

Four written warnings were also issued for insufficient vessel safety equipment.

Along with the enforcement action taken by officers, approximately 25 bags of oysters were seized and returned alive to the water.

The FWC points out that by keeping the illegally harvested oysters off the market, they are protecting the local oyster industry by reducing the chance people getting sick from eating oysters from untested water. e-mail with comments