Bay Co. Oystermen Concerned about Fisheries - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bay Co. Oystermen Concerned about Fisheries

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The issue about the decline in oysters is now raising concern here in Bay County. Governor Rick Scott has already requested federal aid for Franklin County's oysterman industry, and now the Bay County Oystermen's Associations is asking for help.

The fishery failure in Franklin County is popping up a little closer to home for Bay County oystermen.

Bay County oystermen fish mainly in East Bay and East Bay, and a discovery early this month in East Bay showed a "high mortality rate event." More than 80 percent of oysters in East Bay were dead.

"East Bay is half of our fishery, maybe more than half. All that we have left that might sustain the local harvesters is West Bay, and it's a very small areas," says oysterman Ivy McClain,  secretary of the Bay County Oystermen's Association.

Friday night, the Bay County Oystermen's Association is asking the Bay County Commission for help, requesting a temporary limit of ten bags of oysters, per vessel, per day in Bay County for the entire month of October. They are also asking the Commission to request Governor Rick Scott include Bay County in any deceleration of commercial fishery failure.

"Everybody's worried. We just don't know where to turn, and that's why we're sending this letter to the Bay County Board of Commissioners asking for help," says McClain.

This is help necessary for those who depend on the harvest for income.

"It'll make you scramble, depending on how long we can sustain in West Bay or anywhere else in the state of Florida that we have to. I don't know. I may be looking for something else to do. I may not be fishing anymore," says oysterman Christopher McClain, president of the Bay County Oystermen's Association.