Scott Jackson, from the UF/IFAS Franklin County Extension Office, has announced that the state of Florida has initiated training of harvesters as prescribed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) requirements for the new license year which starts July 1, 2014.
During the first two weeks of April, approximately 250 of the 1,600 Apalachicola Bay Oyster harvesters have completed training with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
Harvesters can receive a certificate of training necessary to obtain a new license every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 3 p.m. at the FDACS Shellfish Center - 260 Dr. Frederick S. Humphries Street in Apalachicola. The free education program lasts approximately 20 minutes.
For additional information on these weekly training opportunities call the FDACS Shellfish Center at 653-8317. This short program is replacing the two-hour program that first-time harvesters have received in the past.
Additional group training to receive certification is available through the Franklin County UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension office by appointment. Please contact the office to schedule. For details call Jackson at 653-9337.
Annual harvester training provides a basic overview of oyster-related issues such as safe handling of shellfish to prevent food borne illness. The latest information and strategies to preserve Apalachicola Bay’s oyster resources is also included and being updated each year with guidance from local seafood industry leaders, researchers, and resource managers. Complying with these new regulations helps protect the Apalachicola oyster industry and supports expansion of markets throughout the United States.
Harvesters will be required to present these training certificates at the time they purchase their license. Beginning May 19, FDACS will initiate actual sale of Apalachicola Bay Oyster License for $100. Please bring a check or money order made payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The last day to purchase without $500 penalty will be June 30. As a public service, FDACS is providing the Saltwater Products License (SPL) in conjunction with the Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license. You will receive your SPL upon purchase of your Apalachicola Bay Oyster License.