Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers within Franklin County are continuing to address the illegal harvest of undersized oysters from Apalachicola Bay.
Officers Martin, Cook, Brownell, Lipford and Gore have been focusing enforcement efforts into the inspection of commercially harvested oysters. At the end of September, they issued five misdemeanor citations to commercial harvesters for possession of undersized oysters. The size tolerance violations ranged from 43 to 93 percent undersized
Earlier this month, Officer Ramos was patrolling offshore when he stopped an inbound Alabama vessel. The boating safety inspection revealed the operator had failed to apply registration numbers to the vessel and had insufficient flares. The fisheries inspection revealed four greater amberjack measuring 22, 26, 27, and 28 inches in length.
Ramos interviewed the two individuals, which resulted in two citations issued for undersized greater amberjack and warnings for over the bag limit of greater amberjack, improper display of registration numbers and insufficient number of flares.
Officer Allen was on water patrol in Apalachicola Bay when he noticed what appeared to be a boat commercially harvesting oysters in a prohibited area. Allen set up surveillance and observed one individual tonging for oysters. He watched the subject harvest the oysters for a period of time and then conducted a resource stop.
The fisherman was found to be in possession of commercial quantities of shellfish and was cited for harvesting oysters in a prohibited area. The oysters were returned to the water.