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Anyone had any local oysters? With all the freshing water I was wondering how the beds were doing especially East Bay.
 

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They have only been open for one week since Thanksgiving due to the huge amount of rain and run-off since then. If it doesn't rain too hard for two weeks they may be decent again. The week they were open (about 3 weeks back) they weren't salty until the last day, and then just a taste...Then it rained again. The watershed is still swollen, so it could be awhile before they are salty....
 

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In looking at the river levels north of here I would not expect the beds to be open within two weeks.With all of flooding and the snow melt north of us I would also not expect any of the oysters having any salt content.
 

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http://shellfish.floridaaquaculture.com/seas/seas_statusmap.htm

This should get you to a map of the shellfish districts. Click on Panama City. The list will show each local area and whether or not they are open or closed. There is also a"local" map Identifying the local areas by number. The only one I use is 0232 East Bay.You can also call 850-236-2200.

To my knowledge the Sound hasn't had legal harvesting in some years...
 

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Is there a way for the public to harvest oysters that I am missing? From what I know oyster harvesting is only legal with a commercial license? I hope I am wrong and just missing out?
 

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You can catch oysters recreationally with a valid saltwater license. All you need is some oyster tongs and a culling board. You are allowed to harvest two sacks of oysters which is the equivelant of 4 5 gallon buckets. Also the oysters need to 3" long to harvest. The way we do it is to build the culling board and then place nails on the 2x4 3" apart. If the oyster does not touch both nails then it is illegal.
 

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This may be a stupid questions, is there a map withmarked areas where you can find oysters in east bay?
 

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I had never heard of anyone harvesting them and the only person I have ever asked was somebody down in Port St Joe, I should of realized they were just protecting their local economy.
 

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Most of the "known" beds are marked in a GPS.

Some show up on charts. They are easily found under a working tonger. Be nice. I have never had one be surly..
 

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Way back in the day, when I used to wholesale local "East Bay Oysters" spring was always an iffy time due to the spring rains and runoff. Also oysters are spawning with the fresh water and will sometimes be milky and swollen which turns me off. Best time for salty oysters will be Oct/Nov/Dec. Should be plenty of oysters south of I-10, 1/4 mileoff Trout Bayou in Escambia Bay. An old trick to find oysters is to drag a rope with about 3-4 feet of heavy chain on the end at idle speed. When the chain hits oysters, it will jump and jerk....then all you got to do is tong those babies onto your culling board (a whole lot easier said than done...but I think everyone should have to tong oysters for about a week....builds character!).
 
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