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High Flow Emerges As Newest Threat To Apalachicola Bay Oysters

boat on Apalachicola Bay
Jessica Palombo

North Florida’s famous Apalachicola oysters are still under harvest limits. The crop has been devastated in recent years due to low water flow, and high salinity levels. Florida Wildlife Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley says oyster reproduction in the bay is getting  better, but high flows and too much freshwater are threatening the species.

“Based on our sampling and discussion with industry leaders and the community, the winter harvest limits will remain set at four bags a day for commercial harvest, one half bags  per person per day for the recreational harvest, with closures on Friday, Saturday and Sundays,' Wiley announced during Wednesday's meeting of the FWC in Jupiter, Florida.

Oysters harvesting is a critical part of the local economy, and many residents of Eastpoint have been hit hard by the oyster collapse.  

Florida is suing Georgia over water flow problems in the Apalachicola-Flint-Chattahoochee River system, which feeds the bay. Florida claims Georgia is holding too much water for upstream. Florida, Georgia and Alabama have fought over water distribution in the AFC system for decades.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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