Florida officials should use "every arrow in their quiver" to restore the flow of fresh water to the sapped Apalachicola River and Bay, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Monday - including firing up another lawsuit in the state's water war with Georgia.
"Under the current regulatory regime, I am not optimistic that the Apalachicola Bay oyster industry will recover in the near term," Putnam said at a post-legislative session meeting with reporters where he also talked about the citrus industry and the state's water supply plan as well as the river system. "We need to be as aggressive as we can be in every venue ... to resolve this issue."
More than two decades of legal wrangling between Florida, Georgia and Alabama over the amount of water released downstream ended last year when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of a federal court decision that gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to manipulate the water levels of Lake Lanier to meet Atlanta's water needs.
Since then, a prolonged drought and the lack of freshwater making its way down the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system has contributed to the collapse of the oyster population in Apalachicola Bay, imperiling the region's economy.
"The things that we warned the court would be the consequences of inadequate water flow, but had not yet realized, have now been realized," Putnam said. "So you would hope that would open up another opportunity to get back in court."
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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.