Task force formed to address Apalachicola Bay oyster fishery collapse

Florida Sea Grant heads up a task force to examine the collapse of the oyster fishery in Apalachicola.

Victor Garrido, left, a research coordinator with Florida Sea Grant’s seafood safety program, discusses frozen oysters with Apalachicola seafood processor Grady Leavins, center, and Bill Mahan, Franklin County Sea Grant agent. Florida Sea Grant is leading a task force to examine the collapse of the area’s oyster harvest. (UF/IFAS photo)

Responding to the oyster fishery collapse in Apalachicola Bay, Florida Sea Grant and experts with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will join forces with local seafood producers to find ways of restoring sustainable populations of the area’s world-famous oysters.

“We’re extremely concerned and want to help however we can,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “An estimated 2,500 people work in Franklin County’s oyster industry and businesses closely allied with it. Many of them are now wondering how to put food on the table.”

Payne announced formation of the UF Oyster Recovery Task Force and named Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens to lead it.

The task force has multiple priorities, including learning why oyster populations declined, finding ways to help them bounce back, and identifying solutions for social and economic impacts, Havens said.

Apalachicola has long hosted UF/IFAS and Florida Sea Grant oyster and ecosystem research projects. It’s home to a UF laboratory dedicated to post-harvest processing that safeguards raw oysters from Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, he said.

More information on this story can be accessed at University of Florida News.

Modified gear could increase shrimp catch by 10 percent, limit bycatch

A small portion of Texas’ commercial shrimping fleet is trawling state and federal waters

Inside view of a shrimp net with a composite BRD. Photo courtesy NOAA

with modified gear that could increase their catch by as much as 10 percent while limiting the amount of unwanted species caught to federally acceptable levels.

For an industry that frequently operates on a razor thin margin between profitability and going out of business, 10 percent represents a very significant economic impact, says Gary Graham, Fisheries Specialist with the Texas Sea Grant College Program, who was instrumental in developing and testing the equipment.

Residents can make rain barrels at Spanish Fort workshop

Residents can make their own rain barrels at a Sept. 29 workshop in Spanish Fort, Ala. Rain barrels conserve water while reducing residential stormwater impacts.

(Mobile, Ala.) – Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, in partnership with the Coastal Alabama Clean Water Partnership and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will hold a rain barrel workshop from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Spanish Fort City Hall, 7581 Spanish Fort Blvd., in Spanish Fort.

Workshop participants will learn about important water quality and conservation issues and practical measures they can take to reduce their impact on coastal Alabama’s water resources. During the workshop, they will construct a rain barrel that will allow them to harvest rainwater for gardens, landscaping or other uses. They also will learn how to install the rain barrels at their homes.

To attend the workshop, interested individuals must pre-register with the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center office by Wednesday, Sept. 26. The registration fee for the workshop is $40 and includes all materials required to construct a rain barrel.

For more information or to register, contact Christian Miller, extension specialist with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Auburn Marine Center, at 251-438-5690 or Christian@auburn.edu.

Texas suffers hypoxic areas of its own making

This is one time it’s better that not everything is bigger in Texas.


Texas A&M University (TAMU) oceanographer Dr. Steven DiMarco and Oceanography doctoral student Ruth Mullins-Perry have documented periodic hypoxic zones — areas of water with very low levels of dissolved oxygen — off the Texas coast. These Texas zones are often not related to the more famous “Dead Zone” spreading from the mouth of the Mississippi River and, at their zenith, cover just one-fourth the area of their better-known cousin.

For more information, visit http://texas-sea-grant.tamu.edu/NewsAndEvents/MediaReleases/press12/HypoxiaRelease.html

Texas Sea Grant duo funded to find better BRDs

 A federal grant to Texas A&M University may lead to more efficient testing, certification and adoption of improved commercial shrimp fishing gear that will also contribute to the sustainability of the nation’s other fisheries.

The Texas Sea Grant College Program’s (TXSG) Gary Graham and Tony Reisinger will use the $83,571 award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to identify and test promising models of bycatch reduction devices and then choose the designs that are most likely to pass the rigors of full federal certification testing, thus eliminating time and money lost testing designs that fail to meet federal standards. TXSG is a research center within the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M.

For more information, visit http://texas-sea-grant.tamu.edu/NewsAndEvents/MediaReleases/press12/BRD-AwardRelease.htmlImage

Hurricane Isaac Water Damage Photos Sought

Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter personnel need the public’s help in assessing flooding that occurred during Hurricane Isaac. People with photos of Isaac flooding are asked to email the images to Maurice Wolcott at mwolcott@agctr.lsu.edu with the street address of where the photo was taken.

For more information, visit http://www.laseagrant.org/comm/2012/photosneeded.htm.


Journal of Extension – Resilience Index

Here’s an article about the Coastal Community Resilience Index in the Journal of Extension. Sea Grant in each Gulf of Mexico state has worked with this index. 

New Laborde Chair Announced

Standish Allen Jr. has been named the Laborde Endowed Chair for Sea Grant Research and Technology Transfer by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program (LSG). His appointment runs through June 2013.

During his tenure as Laborde Chair, Allen will spend much of his time at the Louisiana Sea Grant hatchery assessing the facility’s oyster
broodstock and spawning system capabilities and developing plans for breeding
program activities.

“Dr. Allen is a world authority on bivalve breeding. I’ve been collaborating with him since 1993, beginning with our initial triploid oyster development for Louisiana,” said John Supan, associate professor and director of the LSG Oyster Hatchery on Grand Isle. “It’s been a rewarding relationship over the past 19 years, as Stan and I have worked together to bring advancements in oyster production to the Gulf of Mexico region.”