Boosting oyster industry tops requests for BP oil spill recovery dollars

Bob Bruggner holds one of the thousands of oysters grown by Palmetto Island Oyster Company off the Wakulla County coastline. Karl Etters/Democrat

Three projects are seeking millions in BP oil spill recovery dollars to help revitalize the oyster industry in Franklin and Wakulla counties.

The proposals are among the dozens of requests from both counties, which are looking at securing $49.43 million from Triumph Gulf Coast Inc.

The non-profit organization oversees the dispersal of money to eight Gulf Coast counties in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

At one point, 50 percent of Franklin County’s economy was linked to oyster harvesting. But they also have an ecological impact that extends to the entire environment.

“Oysters can be thought of as ecosystem engineers, providing significant ecosystem services to the entire bay,” the university wrote. “Their health is essential for bay recovery.”

The Triumph Gulf Coast money is critical for kick-starting a 15-year period of habitat restoration, research and management that can help to bring back the Apalachicola oyster, FSU claims.

“The outcomes ... will benefit commercial and recreational fishers, aquaculture practitioners, and private-sector industries, and will provide the long-term economic boost of a healthier coastal ecosystem to Franklin County.”

Visit our Oil Spill Clean-up Services page here.

Source: Tallahassee Democrat

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