As Gulf Hits Oil Spill Anniversary, a Plan Emerges to Save Oysterman

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Panacea, FL -- Panacea's Ron Crum remembers the Deepwater Horizon oil spill well.

"In 2010 when the disaster hit here, thinking that the oil was coming, they relaxed regulations, and we destroyed our future," said Crum.

The disaster hurt oystermen, which hurt his mini-mall business. He survived, but other businesses did not. Now he's trying to help a struggling Florida oyster inudstry that is also trying to survive.

"Wakulla county has got a massive amount of conditionally closed waters that have been growing Oysters for 20 years, untouched," said Crum.

Crum has submitted a two million dollar proposal to the Department of Envrionmental Protection. He believes the state can hire fishermen to inventory the Apalachee Bay from Ochlockonee Point to Shell Point in Panacea. Crum believes they can then take the Oysters from the unharvested area, put them in the bay, and allow for those areas to replenish on their own, creating a self sustaining industry that would generate more than one million dollars annually.

Crum says he hopes his plan can help save Florida's Oyster industry, but it starts with research, research he hopes is funded through the Restore Act.

"I would start Monday morning if we had the money, but we don't have the money, and it's still ironic that we're looking for BP to stop what they started," he said.

WCTV reached out to the D.E.P. but they were not immediately available for comment.

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