Oyster industry eyes $6.3 million federal grant

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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