Written by Jen Finn
APALACHICOLA — A newly released report on Apalachicola Bay's oyster situation is long on analysis but short on solutions, recommending more studies and confirming the conventional wisdom that the fishery is in dire straits.
The study by the University of Florida Oyster Recovery Team, which has been assessing the oyster situation since October 2012, backs up lawmakers' and researchers' claims that water flow down the Apalachicola River is the key ingredient to a healthy fishery. For years, Florida has squabbled in a "water war" with neighboring states, particularly Georgia, to release more water out of suburban Atlanta's Lake Lanier, which feeds the river and ultimately the bay.
The study states the bay had high salinity in 2012 caused by low river flow and "limited local rainfall in most months." In fact, the lower part of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-FlintRiver Basinhas been in "exceptional drought" over the last three years, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.
Thus, problems have set in and appear to be here for the long haul.
"The 2012 decline in oyster landings and recruitment of juvenile oysters is unprecedented during the period of data analyzed and has likely involved recruitment failure or high mortality of small oysters," the study states.
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NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...