Florida Closes Apalachicola Bay Until 2025 to Conserve Oysters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Because of a dwindling oyster population, a Florida agency voted unanimously Wednesday to shut down oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through the end of 2025, dealing a blow to an area that historically produced 90% of the state’s oysters and 10% of the nation’s.

People in the area are divided between coming up with a long-term plan to save the industry, and allowing it to continue on a limited basis. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did express the hope of reopening the bay before the ban on commercial and recreational harvesting ends if oysters recover sooner.

“If we can get there faster, that’s everyone’s desire,” Commissioner Michael Sole said. “Look, time is money for these people. I understand why we’re saying a five-year time horizon, I just think that should be the outside edge of our closure and we should be driven to doing what we can to make this as fast as possible.”

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