By: Emily Johnson
March 25, 2014
Apalachicola, FL - "I've been oystering off and on I'd say about 30 years," said Dink Turner, Apalachicola Bay Oysterman
In the time Turner has been oystering he said he's never seen Apalachicola's Bay this bad.
"Now it ain't there, a lot of people are having to move away," said Turner.
The tough times is the reason why Governor Scott's Office announced plans of a Commercial Oyster Fishery Disaster Funding Program.
A total of $6.3 million will go into the Apalachicola Bay.
$4,569,767 will be used for habitat improvement.
$415,473 will be used to monitor the bay's wild oyster population.
$563,233 will go to the vocational and educational training for oysterman.
$768,060 will go to upgrade processing facilities.
Shannon Hartsfield who is President of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association said the funding will help the industry, but he'd like to see the habitat improvement fund set up differently.
"I would want to see, instead of separating the hand shelling from the commercial fisherman and the barge shelling put that money together and let the whole industry do they shelling," said Hartsfield.
Funding for the program will be distributed on July 1ST of this year. Turner said he wished Governor Scott's program would've been available sooner.
"It would help dramatically, the only thing is I wish it would have been available last year," said Turner.
On another note, most of the bay has been closed recently, because of the recent rains. However, Cat Point, a popular oystering spot will re-open tomorrow at sunrise.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the projects in the Apalachicola Bay area that he is recommending to receive disaster assistance funding. These projects will help the affected communities recover from the devastation and move forward to have sustainable fisheries and fishing communities in the future.
Governor Scott said, “I am excited today to recommend these projects that will share $6.3 million to help restore economic vitality and provide relief to the oystermen and their families who have endured such hardship in the Apalachicola Bay area. In addition to bolstering their industry, this funding will be used to provide vocational and educational training for oystermen and their families so they are able to support their families for generations to come.”
The projects are focused on four areas and are subject to final approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are: