2019-04-19 Georgia Oyster Farming, More Controversy Than You Might Think

Georgia's oyster business may soon get a new lease on life. Eighty years ago, the state's oyster industry was thriving and canned oyster sales were booming. But the industry folded in the 1940s due to over-harvesting. Georgia lawmakers have just introduced a bill to help revive the local industry. It encourages oyster aquaculture or farming in the same coastal areas where wild oysters have been harvested for decades. However, not everyone is thrilled with the bill. Even local companies interested in getting into oyster aquaculture have reservations about it. First, the bill indicates that harvesting should be restricted in the summer months when the risk of eating contaminated raw oysters is highest. But improved oyster aquaculture methods in nearby South Carolina and Florida allow those states to harvest oysters all year long. Preventing Georgia oyster farmers from harvesting in the summer would put them at an economic disadvantage in the marketplace right off the bat. Second, the bill proposes to grant aquaculture leases on a random lottery basis, which could also hurt existing oyster companies in the state. Larger, out of state firms could snap up the prime leases if smaller Georgia oyster companies can't afford steep application prices. Before the bill is signed into law, it can be adjusted to accommodate and alleviate these concerns. Get the full story here.

oysters at oyster farm

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