Apalachicola- After 28 years working at Leaven's Seafood, Darren Guillotte said he had unloaded more oysters in his career than he could count... until now. Now, finding an oyster has become almost as precious as finding a pearl inside.
"We got in 40 bags" Guillotte said, weighing each bag as it came in off the boat. "Not bad, but that's off of 8 boats," he added shaking his head.
"The oil spill started a spiral effect, Franklin County Native, Sandy Williams said, "and the water wars do not help."
The community's livelihood has long centered around Apalachicola oysters, but as the population has diminished from a lack of fresh water- many feared the local population would begin to diminish as well.
"Whether they want to go to Louisiana- Texas, and process oysters that way, or find other forms of work. It is dangerous out there on the water. To make that amount of money with overhead and costs and everything, some of it's not advantageous for a fisherman going out there working" Guillotte said.
Williams added, "if we can not earn a living to pay our bills, we'll have to go elsewhere to look for work. Face it, we're a seafood industry and tourism. There's not a lot of work here. And, a lot of people who work on the bay are not able to do anything [else], that's all they've ever done all their life."
Many said they were just taking the situation day-by-day, moving forward toward an uncertain future.
"They're going to have to do a lot of shelling" Guillotte said. "The bars itself needs a lot of shells on it and we need a lot of fresh water. I mean, between the two with the shells and water- get this bay kind of reproducing itself. And if that takes shutting it down, you know that's a possibility too."
Williams told us the community needed, "more money to do more shelling and more training. Teach people how to work off the bay because, we may not fully recover. It's not a promise."