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

Billy McDaniel (left), Tommy Hines (right) catch a gag grouper at Cedar Key, trolling in 50 feet of water.

FWC Surveys Local Fishermen About Gulf Species

The FWC is conducting surveys to discover trends in species of fish being caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Local fishermen agree that monitoring the fish is important, but some question the method of data collection.


Gina Hall, the current president of the Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors, said that residential sales in the Stephen Foster neighborhood have been improving. Local realtor Darlene Pifalo said the home pictured above sold in an average amount time on the market after the price was lowered slightly.

Stephen Foster Residents Hope For Neighborhood Revival

The Cabot-Koppers wood treatment plant became an EPA Superfund site in 1983 after dioxins contaminated the soil and underground aquifer. Now that cleanup of residential property was completed in November, the residents look toward the future.


Frosted elfin butterfly

Butterfly Study Calls Attention To Prescribed Burning Practices

A recent study by a University of Florida graduate researches the effects of prescribed fires on the elfin frosted butterfly. The species requires fire to survive, but is also prone to damage from excessive burning.


Containerized longleaf pine seedlings are removed from a growing tray. They are then counted and placed in a wax coated cardboard shipping box.

Longleaf Pine Restoration Helps Environment And Economy

Longleaf pine is being reintroduced into the United States ecosystem. If the restoration plan is successful, this type of pine would benefit the environment and the economy.


Bert the bluff oak resides outside the Nuclear Science Center on the University of Florida campus. Plans to construct the Innovation Nexus Building in that area for the College of Engineering have gone through several variations in order to save him and four other heritage trees in the area.

For Trees Like Bert, Special Titles Do Not Always Guarantee Special Protections

The Florida Champion Tree Register recognizes the largest tree in the state of each noninvasive species. It’s the next step of recognition up from heritage tree status, like that of Bert, the bluff oak that has affected plans for the Innovation Nexus Building at UF.


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
Underwriting Payments