FWC approves rule to help oyster harvesters
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) approved a rule amendment Thursday to help oyster
harvesters adjust to pending new restrictions that will affect the
time they are allowed to harvest and transport oysters on the water
Florida's oyster fishery is jointly managed by the
FWC and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(DACS). DACS is developing a new rule to require harvesters
to deliver their oysters to a certified dealer by 11:30 a.m. during
May, June and July, and by noon during August, September and
October. This action is being taken to meet new federal
health safety requirements for the oyster industry by ensuring that
harvested oysters are handled and processed during cooler morning
hours in warm-weather months.
Oyster harvesting in Florida is allowed only during
the daytime (between sunrise and sunset). However; the
pending DACS rule will limit oyster harvesters to working only in
the morning for six months each year.
To help give oyster harvesters as much time as
possible to fish during this shortened period, the FWC has modified
its rule, which prohibits oyster tongs to be on vessels overnight
(between sunset and sunrise), where oysters are harvested.
Under the amended rule, fishermen will now be able to stow tongs on
their vessels before dawn, which means they can leave their
vessel-mooring site sooner and begin harvesting oysters at
This rule amendment takes effect in early June.