Big Bend Restaurants Experiencing an Oyster Shortage

Many restaurants in our area have a limited supply of oysters due to a statewide shortage. On Apalachicola Bay a few die-hards can be found “tonging away”, desperate to make up for the thousands of dollars lost this hurricane season..

Rough seas and high winds have tied up boats and forced oystermen to stay home, sometimes for weeks on end.

David Barber with Barber's Seafood says, “We've had a lot of windy days, can't work today either.”

It's a harsh reality with a domino effect. Oystermen aren't making any money, processors aren't receiving inventory and restaurants aren't able to satisfy customers.

Jeff Stilwell, owner of Barnacle Bill's, says, “Couple times during storms had to go with limited supply, just serving at oyster bar.”

Jeff Stilwell says his Tallahassee restaurant hasn't had to turn away customers yet, but he certainly feels the pinch in his pocket.

Jeff adds, “Our cost has gone up $2.00 a bag. I'm hoping this will be a passing thing.”

As are the oystermen on the coast, hoping for calm waters and a good catch that will make up for lost times.