WUFT News

UF report: collapse of oyster industry due to drought, salinity

By and on April 26th, 2013

Drought, insufficient rainfall and salinity in the Apalachicola Bay helped cause a dramatic fall in oyster populations, according to a report by the University of Florida.

UF’s Oyster Recovery Team said there is no evidence that pollutants from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico contributed to the decline. Still, seafood fishermen and sellers are suffering from the dip in oysters.

Andrew Kane, leader of the contaminants and pathogens division of the recovery team, said he sees the report as something positive, because recovery can now begin.

A combination of reduced water flow and a nationwide drought has contributed to the lack of water flow, which elevated the salinity of the bay, making an environment that is not optimal for oysters but better for predators, said Kane, an associate professor of environmental and global health at UF.

The team looked at a variety of factors for the report, including management factors , diseases and parasites that all affect the community, he said.

What’s tricky about the report is there is not a lot of past history to compare it to, he said, so the team is focusing on the future

“The idea now is to take this data and move forward and ask the question: ‘Where do we go from here?’” Kane said.

The data found is critical to future plans, he said.

“We can predict that this drought is likely to continue in the coming year,” he said. “And that’s why we need to provide insights relative to the management of the fishery.”

This problem has caused a lot of groups – from state universities to seafood workers to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – to come together for a joint cause, Kane said. The researchers are doing whatever they can to partner with other agencies.

The next step is to work on a restoration proposal, he said. The crabbers and harvesters and hurting the most are losing fishing time to become educated about this environmental problem.

The report also recommends more research in the future, but funding could be an issue. This past study was funded by UF/IFAS.

“The good thing is all of this concern with this decline is that it’s brought a lot of partners to the table,” he said.

According to a press release, recovery team members discussed the report with about 60 residents and seafood workers Wednesday at the Apalachicola Community Center.

Kelsey Meany wrote this story for online.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Buffaloman

    How much water is expended on lawns in the drainage area of the Apalachicola River?They ban watering lawns in Arizona. The problem is no different here except that individuals with a financial motive make a living poisoning lawns and ruining ground water with “beneficial” weed destroying chemistry. Cultivated lawns are an abomination of nature. It takes about a hundred years to make a natural lawn by only mowing it. Have a little patience folks.

 

More Stories in Environment

The invasive air potato vine has met its match with the introduction of the air potato leaf beetle. This beetle could control the aggressive plant.

Air Potato Beetle Becomes Big Help To Florida Farmers

With the controlled release of the air potato leaf beetle in Florida and around the U.S., the aggressive air potato vine finally has a predator.


Attendance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park increased by more than 100,000 visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

US Forest Service Proposes Requirements for Photography in Wilderness Areas

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a rule that would require media to get a permit before filming or photographing in wilderness areas, or else face a fine. The proposed rule has been met with opposition on the grounds that it violates First Amendment rights.


Water-Saving Technologies And Conservation Goals Cut Confusion

According to a recent survey, most people are confused about water conservation. Small efforts add up, but awareness of water consumption is most important, according to GRU.


Only a few areas of the Alachua Sink have open-water surfaces. Rangers believe the cooler, dryer weather typical of Florida winters will kill off some of the vegetation growing on the surface.

Paynes Prairie Trail Undergoes Reclamation Project

Construction on the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park began Monday as part of an effort to re-establish the area of Paynes Prairie as a wetland ecosystem.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping Saves Water And Fertilizer

According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) website, many Floridians are willing to do their part in conserving water.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments