Seafood in Peril?

By: Caroline Brady
By: Caroline Brady

Fishermen and oystermen in Apalachicola are still recovering from the damage done to their livelihood during the 2005 hurricane season.

But some lifelong oystermen are afraid of a new threat on the horizon.

Johnny Richards is a fourth generation oysterman and president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association. He's currently relaying seed oysters in attempt to mend the damage done by last year's hurricanes.

But looming ahead is a challenge no amount of experience can overcome.

"We'll be like the old Indians, pretty soon. We'll be moved out, the oystermen, the seafood workers won't have place in this world."

The development company "Growth Group" has bought 31 acres of prime coast line, and plans to construct at least 248 condominiums along the water.

But according to FCSWA Treasurer Caty Greene, that's not all..

"The marina is of greatest concern to the oystering community."

If approved, the oystermen claim the marina will endanger the natural buffer that protects the oystering areas all along the Apalachicola bay.

Johnny says he accepts the fact that change is inevitable, but wishes the changes would be positive for the entire community.

"They say it's the forgotten coast. Let's all enjoy it together."

The developers will first have to gain approval from their planning and zoning board before approaching the county commission for new permits.

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