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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National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15
In this episode:
Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.