By: Bailey Myers
January 20th, 2014
Tallahassee FL- the FWC caught oyster-men in Franklin County with dozens of bags of oysters harvested from the protected summer oyster beds.
We visited a popular spot today to find out why oyster-men would resort to harvesting illegally.
Straight from the bay, one oyster-man showed us his catch, "This here is about all you going to get now." When we asked why only one and a half bags he said, "Cause their ain't none."
Fewer oysters in the winter beds make people desperate. At least that's what these oyster-men at a Eastpoint dock say.
They wake up, hit the water get as many oysters as they can and are legally allowed. When they get back they are bringing in one to two bags, what they say is a small profit.
Every bag of oysters is about sixty pounds ringing in about forty dollars a piece. And the FWC confiscated about four thousand pounds of oysters.
Oysters which were taken illegally from the currently protected summer beds. Oyster-man Erik Tatum told us, "The people that are doing it shouldn't be doing it because it's closed and it is messing up our summer season too but I can't speak on someone. It depends on the people who are doing it, cause they might have a bunch of kids you know? And have to feed them kids."
Oyster-men told WCTV us they are catching less, which means for a lousy pay check. "It's hard time is what it is" said Tatum.
The FWC told us the oysters that were taken from the harvesters were taken back to the summer beds to mature. The five men who were caught were cited for 20 misdemeanors and 2 boating safety infractions.
Tallahassee FL-Apalachicola Fishermen were stopped, and cited after law enforcement discovered thousands of illegally harvested oysters in their boats.
Some of the highly cultivated and protected summer oyster beds were ransacked this week when fisherman pulled more than 4,000 pounds of oysters prematurely.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Law enforcement agents off the coast of Franklin County discovered three different harvesting parties with illegal oyster harvests.
Summer oyster beds will and are only allowed to be harvested in certain areas starting in June. Five of those harvesters were cited for 20 misdemeanors and two boating safety infractions.
Thirty six bags of oysters from those protected beds were confiscated, and we were told the oysters were alive and placed back in their beds to mature for the summer season.