Franklin County’s economy is highly dependent on the fisheries of Apalachicola Bay, and that makes it particularly vulnerable to both natural and human impacts on the environment. Recent disasters including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reduced flow from the Apalachicola River and flooding from Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 have battered Franklin’s oyster industry and its economy as a whole.
In 2012, the University of Florida formed the UF Oyster Recovery Task Force to develop effective ways to bring the oyster industry back to Apalachicola Bay. Combining research, education and public outreach, scientists from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science and Florida Sea Grant have been conducting research on oyster health, productivity, reef structure and water quality; communicating their findings to the fishing industry and community; and working to secure funding to restore oyster reefs in Apalachicola Bay and make Franklin County a more resilient community.
This video discusses the efforts of UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant to rebuild the economy of Franklin County.
Fishing boats docked in Apalachicola Bay. UF/IFAS Photo by Marisol Amador