Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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38 | www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com areas that did not historically support oyster reefs was expensive, but a lot of funding, both state and federal, has been poured in. Political pressure now threatens to block at least a part of the program. Contending that $26 million spent on restoration in the Harris Creek tributary was a colossal waste of taxpayers' money, Maryland's watermen last summer won a halt in reef construction in the Tred Avon River. One of the biggest bones of contention is that the reefs and the hatchery-produced oysters placed on them are being put in state-designated sanctuaries permanently off-limits to harvest. In Florida's Apalachicola Bay, once a major producer of oysters, the problem is lack of fresh water: the Apalachicola River's tributaries mostly originate in north-central Georgia, and a huge portion of the flow is being siphoned off to metro Atlanta, as well as to farmers in the southeastern part of the state. Courts ruled not long ago that the Georgia usage gets priority. In short, oysters are not having it easy anywhere these days, and without a lot of help from conservation-minded humans, the future of populations does not look bright. In Mississippi, the combination of solid funding and strong political pull will give restoration efforts their best chance at success. Mississippi has launched an ambitious restoration plan, with the goal of not only expanding natural oyster beds dramatically but also adding considerable aquaculture oyster production to the mix. The effort will provide the science Oyster restoration has been a priority for numerous coastal states. In Florida, the non-profit Tampa Bay Watch hosts regular oyster reef building projects like this one to restore these environmentally useful shellfish. Photo: Tampa Bay Watch.

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