Documenting Change in Apalachicola, Florida

On Wednesday, April 11, Tampa Bay Times reporter Laura Reiley published a sobering digital feature about Apalachicola and the future of its oyster economy. We encourage you to click here and read this important continuation of the community story SFA shared in our 2006 Florida’s Forgotten Coast oral history project.

Reiley reports that “Apalachicola used to account for 90 percent of Florida’s wild oysters, 10 percent of the nation’s. These days? Almost nothing. In 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared a fishery disaster on the bay and it has continued to diminish since.” The impact has economic and social repurcussions for the whole community. There is conflict about open access to the water, methods to rebuild natural oyster beds, and the introduction of oyster farming.

We also encourage you to look back at Apalachicola as we documented it in 2006. SFA made a film about 2006 Keeper of the Flame Winner Tommy Ward, a central figure in Reiley’s article. And take some time to revisit our Florida’s Forgotten Coast oral history project, which pays homage to the men and women who have long worked the water, tonging for oysters, casting nets for shrimp and fish, and cultivating soft-shell crabs.