Commercial Regulations for Oysters

Bag Limits

A bag equals two five-gallon buckets, one 10-gallon bucket or 60 lbs. of

OysterWorking.jpg

culled oysters in the shell.

Statewide daily limit is 20 bags per person or vessel, whichever is less, except in Bay County and the Apalachicola Bay area. 

Bag limit in Bay County is 5 per person with a total of 10 per vessel through June 30, 2018. Season closes July 1, 2018. 


Minimum Size Limit: 3 inches or more

Undersized oysters must be culled immediately upon harvest and returned to the reef from which they were harvested. Undersized oysters may number no more than five percent (by count) of unattached oysters per bag and no more than 15 percent (by count) attached (such that separation would destroy either oyster) per bag. Vessels connected together, such as towing, may only claim one bag limit all together.

Oysters harvested from an approved public bar may not be stockpiled onto a lease.


Seasons

Harvest from public reefs is prohibited from July 1 - Sept. 30, except as provided below.

In Wakulla, Dixie and Levy counties, harvest is prohibited from June 1 - Aug. 31.

 

Apalachicola Bay Season*Closed Days/AreasDaily Bag Limit

June 1 - Aug. 31, 2018

Closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays June 1-Aug. 31 (recreational and commercial)

East Hole closed (area 1671)

North of John Gorrie Memorial Bridge closed (area 1652)

Hotel Bar Experimental area closed

Commercial limit: 3 bags per person 

Recreational limit: 5 gallons in shell per person or vessel, whichever is less

Sept. 1, 2017 - May 31, 2018

Commercial and recreational oyster harvest closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Portions of the areas known as areas 1612 and 1622 are closed south of Sheepshead Bayou.

Commercial: 3 bags per person

Recreational: 5 gallons in shell per person or vessel, whichever is less

*Apalachicola Bay includes St. George Sound, East Bay, Apalachicola Bay, and St. Vincent Sound and their canals, channels, rivers and creeks; and Indian Lagoon and its canals, channels, rivers and creeks.


Shellfish Harvesting Areas

Harvest is allowed only in areas referenced in paragraph 5L - 1.003(1) of the FDACS Comprehensive Shellfish Control Code.

Allowable shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) harvesting areas are established and managed for public health purposes by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture. Shellfish harvesting areas are opened and closed in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Guidelines, and the open or closed status applies to both recreational and commercial harvest. 

You may view maps of these areas and determine the open or closed status at: www.floridaaquaculture.com icon_external.png or Shellfish Harvest Areas Map

If using the Shellfish Harvest Areas Map, click on your area below for daily status updates:  icon_external.png

  • Western Gulf: from Pensacola Bay in Escambia County to East Bay in Bay County
  • Central Gulf: from St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County to Wakulla County
  • Big Bend Gulf: from Horseshoe Beach in Dixie County to Citrus County
  • Southern Gulf: from Boca Ciega Bay in Pinellas County to Ten Thousand Islands in Collier County
  • Atlantic Coast: from the Fort Pierce Inlet in St. Lucie County to the Tolomato River in St. Johns County

For additional information call 850-617-7600.

Other regulations:

Commercial and recreational harvest by any person during the same day is prohibited.

Bycatch from trawling or dragging any gear over a public oyster bar should be returned to the water as closely as possible to the beds where taken and transport and sale of bycatch or oysters taken intentionally is prohibited. Wholesale and retail dealers may not sell oysters unless they are labeled and traceable to the point of harvest.

Upon leaving an area, harvesters must pass through a monitoring station when in operation. Harvest on leased parcels is subject to the established rules unless otherwise exempted by the approved lease provisions.

 



FWC Facts:
Groupers are very slow-growing fish, taking anywhere from 4-8 years to reach sexual maturity.

Learn More at AskFWC