Three oysters with lemon slice garnish
Food - Drink
Why Florida Has Stopped Harvesting Apalachicola Oysters
Apalachicola Bay in the northwest side of St. George Island in Florida is a unique estuarine ecosystem responsible for some of America's best oysters. Thanks to the mix of a freshwater and saltwater environment, Apalachicola oysters are uniquely tasty, but in 2020, the state of Florida imposed a moratorium on harvesting them.
Apalachicola Bay oysters grow in "brackish" water, a mix of saltwater and freshwater that facilitates the growth of healthy oysters. Since Apalachicola oysters depend on brackish waters for their unique flavor, several years of drought in Florida have resulted in insufficient freshwater for the oysters, leading to high oyster mortality.
Other issues such as over-harvesting, stormwater runoff, and damage caused by Hurricane Michael in 2018 have also had an impact. Florida is passing conservation measures to help improve the wellbeing of its oyster population, which means not depleting their numbers, so no Apalachicola oysters will be harvested through 2025.