oysters

Until the coronavirus halted daily life, oyster growers in Florida had been selling every bivalve they could harvest. There’s been a demand for them, but this method of aquafarming is still unable to match what used to be a thriving wild-caught oyster industry about a decade ago.

Fort Lauderdale’s Polluted Waterways Need Help: Here Come The Oysters

Mar 5, 2020
Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel

As broken sewage pipes foul Fort Lauderdale’s waterways, a group of conservationists has begun deploying one of the world’s most formidable filtration systems.

A single oyster can cleanse more than 50 gallons of water a day. Volunteers with Coastal Conservation Association, a recreational fishing and conservation group, have begun distributing 100 pizza-sized mini-reefs to waterfront homeowners that will provide places for oyster larvae to latch onto, reach adulthood and turn into an army of water cleaners.

Florida's oyster business is making a slow comeback. Apalachicola Bay in the Panhandle used to be known for its oyster fisheries until it all collapsed less than a decade ago. Growers are having some success using a new way to farm.

Leslie Sturmer with University of Florida IFAS said Apalachicola Bay once provided about 10% of the nation's oysters, but the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, over-harvesting and other environmental factors killed off a devastating number of oysters around 2012.