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Oyster farming has become an industry that supports many local fishermen along the Gulf of Mexico. Especially near the northmost parts between Florida and Louisiana. Local fisheries are important to local wildlife. Although the two groups can sometimes be at odds, many fishermen work hard to keep the ocean in their area clean because they realize that cleaner waters lead to healthier fish and oysters.
The rising price of oysters has allowed many local fishermen to continue their work in the community. However, the recent hurricane season has caused some major damage for these fishermen.
Hurricane Michael hit the coast with massive force. The devastation was everywhere, including offshore oyster beds. Unlike fish, oysters are immobile and are not as adapted for such intense conditions. Especially the farmed oysters that are raised in structures off the bottom.
The intense blow comes after a continuous decline of habitat for these oysters. The water wars in many places, but especially the Apalachicola River have led oyster populations to the brink of disaster. Without the freshwater input from rivers, oysters seem to struggle.
Unfortunately, this combination of factors has left oysters, wild and farm-raised alike, in a difficult situation. Hopefully, researchers and farmers can work together to turn the population decline around. However, it is not looking good for now.
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