WUFT News

Cedar Key Oyster Market Crippled by High Salinity Levels

By on October 4th, 2013

This week, Florida filed another lawsuit aimed at restoring oyster production at Apalachicola Bay, which was down 90 percent from previous years.

Cedar Key’s oyster market has faced similar problems. Because of recent droughts, the water has become too salty. When salinity levels in the water change too drastically, it makes the oysters weak. This makes them more susceptible to predators.

Oysterman Mark Webster knows about the problem all too well. He’s tended to oysters in Cedar Key since the 70s.

He says when he first started, he would catch a boatload. But today, his bounty is nowhere near as large.

Mark Webster said that the ideal environment for oysters is a mixture of fresh and salt water.

Jessica.James / Flickr

Mark Webster said that the ideal environment for oysters is a balance of fresh and salt water.

A dwindling freshwater supply has crippled the area’s oyster production. This makes the water near the shore tilt toward the saltiness from the gulf. That can quickly be too salty for oysters.

“He likes a mix of freshwater and salt water, just a nice balance,” said Webster.

The situation is bleak in Apalachicola Bay. It’s fed by a river that flows through Atlanta, a major freshwater drain of about 360 million gallons a day.

Florida has recently filed another lawsuit to try to force the Army Corps of Engineers to release more freshwater from its dams.

That could help oyster farming in Apalachicola, but a suffering Cedar Key will see no such relief. They’re dependent on the aquifer and the Suwannee River.

Until that river has more reliable freshwater flows, seafood workers like Webster will favor clams.

“They like theirs a little saltier than oysters do,” said Webster.

University of Florida researchers say newer aquaculture techniques will help keep the traditional work alive.


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

More Stories in Environment

VIDEO: Horse Protection Association Of Florida

Because of flooding on 150 acres of Micanopy land, the Horse Protection Association of Florida is in need of dry land for its rescues. A suitable area was found for 23 of the horses, but HPAF’s Morgan Silver worries about organizing the funds to continue paying rent.


Horse

Small-Scale Horse Operations Guide to Protect Florida Water

The Florida Department of Education released a manual for small-scale horse operation best management practices in order to help preserve the state’s water resources.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

State Targets Growing Feral Swine Problem

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new $20 million program, designed to stop the growth of feral swine, began this month. Florida received $400,000 on Monday.


Officials Ensure Energy Prices Will Not Rise With New Coal Ban

Locals are reacting to the possibility of a utility rate increase that would accompany Gainesville’s possible switch away from mountaintop coal removal.


Swallowtail_one

Food Safety Guidelines Could Alter Sustainable Farm

A new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by the FDA may pose a challenge to farmers who are using an alternative fertilizer.


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