Gulf Oyster Reefs Are Hurting. Now There's Help From Oil Spill Aid Money

Off Cedar Key on Florida's west coast, the water is some of the most pristine in the Gulf. The estuary there has long supported a thriving seafood industry.

Sue Colson, a city commissioner in Cedar Key, says one of the best places to harvest oysters used to be the Lone Cabbage oyster reef, about a mile offshore. When the tide was really low, she says there were so many oysters that she and her husband could walk along the reef picking them up.

"We would pull our children out of school on a really, really, really, really blow out tide," she says. "And everybody would pick up and get as many as you could in that time when they're exposed."

Those days are long gone on Lone Cabbage Reef. Over the last thirty years, Peter Frederick, a wildlife ecologist from the University of Florida, says oysters, the mollusks that build and make up the reef, have died off.

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