Starting Dec. 5 through May 31, 2017, commercial and recreational harvest of oysters is prohibited on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Prior to this change, harvest was prohibited only on Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition, starting Dec. 5 through March 10, 2017, commercial oyster harvesters must bring their catch to one of two monitoring check stations each day commercial harvesting is allowed. The monitoring stations will open at 10 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. and are found at the Patton Street boat ramp in Eastpoint and at Lombardi’s Landing in Apalachicola. Oysters will be checked at these stations to verify oyster size and bag limits. Bags of oysters will then be tagged indicating that the bag had gone through a check station.
Wholesale dealers must only accept oysters specifically identified by a state of Florida tag indicating that the oysters have passed through a monitoring station. That tag must be removed immediately before processing or selling the oysters and must be kept on hand and provided to Commission-authorized personnel upon request. Wholesale dealers must also be able to provide a daily accounting of the total number of pounds of oysters in the shell received upon request.
All other regulations remain in place including the following changes made earlier this year via Executive Order, which remain in effect through May 31, 2017:
- A commercial daily limit of 3 bags per person (a bag is equal to two 5-gallon buckets or 60 pounds of culled oysters in the shell).
- A recreational daily limit of 5 gallons of oysters in the shell per person, or vessel, whichever is less.
- A harvest closure in portions of areas 1612 and 1622 south of Sheepshead Bayou.
To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”