New Oystermen Association Will Help Self-Regulate the Waterways

The dwindling oyster population in our area has put many oystermen into action, and it has led them to create an organization that will help them become more reactionary as a group.
Bay County oystermen have already agreed to a self-imposed 10-bag daily limit per boat.
But, they are worried others do not have to abide by the gentleman's agreement.
For the first time in Bay County history, oystermen have formed their own group, The Bay County Oystermen's Association, INC.
"It's just something we've formed in this county and a lot of people have joined us,” said Walter Ellis, with Miller & Ellis Seafood. “A lot more than just the few oystermen. You take all the seafood places, restaurants, there's a lot of people involved."
Ellis thinks the current oyster shortage here in the Panhandle is the main reason for all of the interest.
"But we've been talking about it for years. This organization can do a lot."
He believes the association will provide a vehicle for those in the industry to communicate with each other.
Right now the hot topic is protecting the local oyster population, members of the association have agree to their own bag limits.
"We're trying to kind of police our bays," said Ellis.
But those limits are not carved in stone, they are self-imposed.
So the association is asking Bay County Commissioners to pass a temporary ordinance, enforcing the 10-bag limit for all Bay County waterways.
The association has already sent a letter to commissioners but there is no word as to when they will consider the request.


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