Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Strict harvesting rules and low bag limits again during the summer oyster harvesting season

Oystermen who work in the Apalachicola Bay will continue to face strict harvesting rules through the summer season in an effort to rebuild the oyster population.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission said several oyster conservation measures will continue through the summer harvest season which runs from June 1st through August 31st.

The commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole will be closed through the summer season.

The Daily commercial bag limit will remain at four bags of oysters in the shell per person and the recreational limit per person, vessel and possession is 4 gallons of oysters in the shell.

Commercial and recreational oyster harvesting will be closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 1st through July 17th.

The harvest will be closed only on Saturdays and Sundays from July 18 through August 31st.

These rules have been in place since 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 freshwater flows in the Apalachicola River.

The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay through the summer season to make sure this resource is properly managed.