From Florida to Texas, oyster populations in the Gulf of Mexico are dropping, and in some places, they are at historic lows. In Alabama, the problem is so bad that officials canceled this year’s public oyster season. Scientists involved in restoration efforts are now finding that what worked before is no longer working, so biologists are trying something new.
Off the coast of Dauphin Island, a team from the Alabama Marine Resources Division is in a small boat headed to a nearby oyster reef. Winter is the ideal time to harvest oysters, and normally the bay would be crowded with fishermen. But today, this is the only boat in sight.
Biologist Jason Herrmann is leading the team. They are on the water to perform a spot survey, checking for live oysters on the reef. Herrmann does not like what they find.
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