Agriculture asking that attention be given to our waterway as well as stating that we
would like to be a part of their rebuilding efforts since we do have a small oyster
economy here and should be getting some regular help from them.
Ms. Verlinde stated a report came out recently about the collapse of the fisheries and a
declaration of disaster was issued by the Treasury Dept. which addressed the fisheries
failure in the panhandle with questions being raised on whether that includes East Bay
and Cedar Key.
She added that it is not really clear but thinks it would be important to start working at the
federal level since that is where decisions will be made. Mr. Marker said we should get a
letter drafted and try to become a part of their ongoing program. Ms. Verlinde
volunteered to draft a letter. Mr. Walker suggested that when Mr. Harris and Mr. Gibson
are speaking with the representative from Dept. of Agriculture, that they inquire as to
whether it would help if the county sent a letter. Ms. V erlinde said it would be a good
idea to send letters to Cong. Miller, Rep. Nelson and the local representatives.
Ms. Verlinde stated that as far as the NRDA projects, the FL Dept. of Agriculture and
Consumer Services (DACS) did submit a request for oyster restoration in East Bay but it
didn't make it to the state Restore list although it is still in the NRDA projects. She
added that it would be a matter of calling DACS and ask that it be resubmitted.
Ms. Verlinde said the oyster shells in Apalachicola primarily stay there because that is
where they come from there and they are very protective of them. She added that we
would be working on a management agreement to put out some off the substrate grow out
cages. Mr. Harris said they are trying to do that in Apalachicola but that there is a lot of
opposition to it. There is a strong movement for the floating cages and some interest in
this area if the oystermen were able to lease the water column instead of just the bottom
as they are now. Ms. Verlinde said in order to change the law, you would have to get an
aquaculture lease and there is not one of those in East Bay. She added that there is only a
10 acre spot that Mr. Nichols has but that is actually a different kind of lease and there
can't be any changes made to it.
type project, using 6-8 of the cages and do what is called a management agreement. She
said there is a lot of interest there but on the research side it's still up in the air as far as
the possibility of it.
Mr. Marker introduced Scott Walker as a prospective member to this committee, representing
District 3. Mr. Walker is a local fisherman who has lived in Chumuckla for 15 years. He
does a lot of fishing in the gulf and bay. Mr. Marker said that since we have been a man short
on this committee we have run into problems in having a quorum and if Mr. Walker is
interested in serving on this committee, he would like for
about being appointed. Mr. Marker added that our success in the past has been because of
people serving that have knowledge of what is going on in the waterway. Hunter Walker said
that Com. Salter has been looking for someone to serve on this committee and he will be glad
to discuss it with him.