Several oyster conservation measures implemented previously will continue this winter season,Sept. 1 through May 31, 2018. These changes are effective in all of Apalachicola Bay, including all waters of Indian Lagoon in Gulf County.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began implementing conservation measures in 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 fresh water flows in the Apalachicola River.
The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay.
Changes are effective Sept. 1 through May 31, 2018 and include:
• The daily commercial harvest and possession limit is three bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets).
• The daily recreational harvest per person, vessel and possession limit is 5 gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day).
• Commercial and recreational oyster harvest is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
• Portions of the areas known as areas 1612 and 1622 are closed south of Sheepshead Bayou.
All other harvest regulations remain in effect.
To learn more about commercial oyster harvest, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”
Conservation measures implemented in St. Andrews Bay
In an effort to conserve oyster resources in St. Andrews Bay and allocate the resource throughout the season while still maintaining harvest opportunities, several conservation measures will soon be implemented.
These changes affect all state waters of St. Andrews Bay in Bay County.
Commercial harvest will open Sept. 1 and remain open through June 30, 2018. The season is normally closed July 1 through Sept. 30.
During the open season, commecial harvesters are limited to five bags per person or a total of 10 bags of oyster per vessel. A bag is equivalent to 60 pounds (or 10 gallons). This change does not apply to active oyster leases.
Also, from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017, commercial harvest is closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
All other regulations remain in effect.
Learn more about commercial oyster harvest at MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”