Written by Leslie Taylor
APALACHICOLA — It wasn’t long ago when Apalachicola Bay oyster boats could fill the daily catch limit of 20 10-gallon buckets easily.
Today, they struggle to fill two.
“It’s bad. ... It’s really bad out there,” said Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association. “We should be on the upper end getting better.”
At a selling point of $44 per bag, minus the cost of fuel, two bags of oysters per day is not enough, Hartsfield said. In 2012, the industry saw its lowest harvest in more than two decades.
Now the small fishing community is hopeful a $6.3 million federal grant may help restore what was lost.
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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...