FL oyster shortage causing rise in prices

Apalachicola, Florida -- Harvesting oysters is not just a business. For men and women in Apalachicola, it's a lifestyle. That's the case for Coy Shiver.

"Most of us out here, our dads would bring us oystering when we were little bitty children," Shiver said.

He no longer harvests oysters, but runs a safety boat to patrol the others.

"If anybody's breaking the rules, that's my job, to say hey slow down."

Recently, the oystermen he watches over had to change how they operate.

They asked for the government to limit the amount of oysters that can be harvested because of a big shortage.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission changed the daily capture limit from 20 bags a day to eight.

"We're facing issues we've never faced before and struggling," said Shannon Hartfield, an oysterman and one of the leaders of the group.

That means we'll all pay a higher price for oysters. But, the oystermen say that's not all a bad thing

"They get a better quality oyster so the consumer gets what they are paying for," Hartfield said.

Right now parts of Apalachicola Bay are closed off, so they can dump shells in the water which attaches to oysters, allowing them to replenish.

"We're planting a seed," Shiver said.

The FWC says the changes are temporary and run from June to the end of August. The oystermen love what they do and say they'll continue to harvest.


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