Governor gets an earful on oysters

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Chris Millender, vice president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association, left, talks with Governor Rick Scott.

David Adlerstein
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 08:38 AM.


Scott’s visit Oct. 3 combined one-on-one talks with seafood officials about the state of the Apalachicola Bay , with a chance to talk with residents about their needs in the face of a decline of the fisheries.

Escorted by County Commissioner Pinki Jackel, Scott greeted a bevy of state, regional and local officials, including State Senator Bill Montford and Commissioner Cheryl Sanders. He discussed the industry’s needs with Eastpoint seafood dealer Bruce Millender, and then later at greater length with Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association.

Together with Jackel, Hartsfield outlined the situation on a large map of the county and its waters, set up on the stage of the Eastpoint firehouse.

“We talked about getting some immediate assistance for relay and shelling,” said Hartsfield. “We talked about possibly closing (Bob Sikes ) cut off, temporarily, for a short term, possibly a long term, because we’re fixing to get these low winter tides and fixing to get a little bit of  fresh water there and we don’t want it all going out the cut.”

He said there was discussion about getting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to expedite review of a possible plan to dredge the Eastpoint channel, but funding from the Army Corps of Engineers remains uncertain.

“We’re not worried about the channel right now,” Hartsfield said. “We’re focusing on what’s in hand. We’re worried about this bay right now.”

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