Oysters: Economic Pearls

Facts and figures about oysters.
Oysters: Economic Pearls

Number of oystermen: 1,164

Size of public oyster “bars”: 7,000 acres

Private leased bars: 600 acres

Dollar value: $15 a bag (current as of 09/08)

The total commercial fishing industry in the Apalachicola Bay amounts to $134 million in economic output and an additional $71 million in value-added impacts.

Apalachicola Bay produces 90 percent of Florida’s oysters and 10 percent of the nationwide supply.

Harvest limits: When the Bay is open, oystermen harvest during the week and are allowed to take up to 20 bags per day, although specific restrictions on harvest days and catch limits are sometimes based on bay conditions. Each 60-pound bag contains an average of 6.5 pounds of shucked meat.

More than 400,000 pounds of oysters are harvested annually.

In 2004, about $2.7 million worth of oysters (1.5 million pounds of meat) were shucked in Franklin County seafood houses.

Oysters must be at least three inches in length to be considered legally harvestable.

Oysters are one of the healthiest items you can add to your diet. They are low in calories (one dozen raw oysters contain approximately 110 calories), rich in iron and high in calcium and vitamin A.

Sources: Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, City of Apalachicola, Franklin County Seafood Worker’s Association, Florida Department of Environmental Protection.