By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 03 October, 2012
Florida’s oyster industry appears near collapse and needs help to survive, including getting more fresh water into Apalachicola Bay from Georgia, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday in pledging to try to help.
Scott said the crisis affecting the Gulf Coast shows that federal officials need to adjust how much water is flowing downstream, a dispute that has triggered years of lawsuits among Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Oysters require a mix of fresh and salt water to survive. Drought is contributing to the problem according to state agriculture officials.
In jeopardy in the immediate future are as many as 2,500 jobs in Franklin County in the Florida Panhandle that are either directly or indirectly impacted by the oyster industry. The outlook for any type of commercial harvest this year is bleak — and residents are in dire need of help with food, rent and light bills.
“What’s out there right now is dead,” said Cody Brannen, a 25-year-old oystermen, who showed up at the local fire station where Scott was meeting with county residents and helping hand out food.
Brannen said he has turned to construction lately and that he is “barely making it.” For many others, all they know is harvesting oysters, he said.
During his visit, Scott heard lots of suggestions on what could be done to help those in the industry.