APALACHICOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Five generations of Philip Vinson's family have labored using tongs to pull oysters from Apalachicola Bay's shallow waters. He fears there won't be a sixth.

The local oyster industry is under threat from water-flow issues, environmental concerns, health and safety regulations and economic realities. Restaurants from New Orleans to Tampa and beyond tout Apalachicola oysters as the tastiest oysters around, but the annual harvest has been in decline.

Apalachicola-based oyster houses have either stopped selling to restaurants on the wholesale market or have opted to supplement their supply with oysters from Texas and Louisiana.

"From generation to generation, we have worked here in this paradise and we are proud of our oysters, we take pride that it means something when the oysters come from here," Vinson said, describing the local catch as "the best oysters in the world. They are sweet with the perfect blend of salinity in the water."

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