Responding to the oyster fishery collapse in Apalachicola Bay, Florida Sea Grant and experts with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will join forces with local seafood producers to find ways of restoring sustainable populations of the area’s world-famous oysters.
“We’re extremely concerned and want to help however we can,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “An estimated 2,500 people work in Franklin County’s oyster industry and businesses closely allied with it. Many of them are now wondering how to put food on the table.”
Payne announced formation of the UF Oyster Recovery Task Force and named Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens to lead it.
The task force has multiple priorities, including learning why oyster populations declined, finding ways to help them bounce back, and identifying solutions for social and economic impacts, Havens said.
Apalachicola has long hosted UF/IFAS and Florida Sea Grant oyster and ecosystem research projects. It’s home to a UF laboratory dedicated to post-harvest processing that safeguards raw oysters from Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, he said.
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