Nearly 120 fewer oyster harvesting licenses were sold this year than last – continuing a 7 year downward trend.
The Department of Agriculture sold 796 oyster harvesting licenses this year – that’s down from 914 last year and 1172 in 2015.
The Department of Agriculture said sales were the lowest this year since 2002.
The highest number of licenses ever sold was in 2010 – the year of the BP oil spill – when nearly 1900 licenses were purchased – the sales period that year was extended by two months because of the oil spill.
And while there were nearly 800 oyster licenses sold this year, that doesn’t mean that there are that many oystermen actively working.
Many local people buy the 100 dollar licenses every year as insurance against future unemployment.