Scott’s Three Million Dollar Oyster Plan

Times are tough on Florida's Forgotten Coast. A water war with Georgia, the BP Oil Spill, Tropical Storm Debbie and recent droughts are killing its world famous oysters.

Scenes like this where oystermen rake in a boatload of rocks are few and far between. Today, the oysters are smaller and harder to find.

Monday Governor Rick Scott announced plans to help save Apalachicola Bay, the area where 90% of Florida's oysters are harvested.

“We will work to clean this ecosystem so it provides clean water for our oysters,” said Governor Rick Scott.

Currently Scott has launched state efforts to move oysters from dangerous areas to safer waters. His new three million dollar plan calls for half a million dollars to be spent studying the problem and finding a solution.

“I’m putting money in my budget to make sure that we deal with trying to improve the number of oysters that can be harvested here and making sure that we get people back to work,” said Scott.

In Franklin County, the main concern is jobs connected to the oyster industry but people around the state and across the nation are more concerned about the price and availability of the slimy seafood.

“Quiet frankly it won’t be a question of the price of the oysters. It will be a question of can we even get them," said Sen. Bill Montford.

State Senator Bill Montford was on hand for the governor's announcement. Montford represents the Forgotten Coast and says the oyster problem is cause for concern statewide.

"We owe it to the people of Florida we owe it to the people of this country to be able to preserve what we have,” said Montford.

While most of the problems facing the oyster population are known, the study hopes to better define how storm water runoff and damns upstream have impacted the oysters’ natural environment.

Florida’s oyster prices have been on the rise since the BP Oil Spill and are up about 30% since the disaster.


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