Sarasota Bay Watch president Larry Stults, Ph.D. recently represented SBW and Gulf Shellfish Institute at a seminal Shellfish Workshop organized by Florida Sea Grant and the Gulf Shellfish Institute.
National level shellfish regulators and policymakers from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) sat alongside State of Florida representatives from Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS), Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) as well as representatives from Senator Nelson’s and Representative Buchannan’s offices.
Additionally, Florida’s shellfish stakeholders in the scientific, academic, commercial and environmental arenas, such as MOTE Marine Laboratory, Gulf Shellfish Institute, START, Sarasota Bay Watch, Bay Shellfish Co., University of Florida, and clam farmers also participated. SBW’s Southern Hard Shell Clam restoration project was mentioned as part of our region’s growing critical mass of shellfish expertise.
Local restaurateur Ed Chiles hosted sustainable shellfish appetizers after the meeting, and he spoke passionately about preserving Florida’s working waterfronts, expanding Florida’s shellfish industry, and the tremendous growth opportunities for sustainable seafood in our state.
This was a breakthrough meeting where inefficiencies resulting from a complex mosaic of shellfish regulations at multiple levels were addressed, and substantial positive action steps forward were laid out. The future is bright for Florida’s shellfish industry and for bolstering marine ecosystems by restoring native shellfish to our waterways.”