TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 26, 2013) – In an
historic move yesterday, the Florida Cabinet voted unanimously to allow the
Lovel family, owners of Spring Creek Oyster Co. in Wakulla County, access to
the waters above their submerged 1.5 acres of state-leased lands. Previously,
aquaculture practices on state land were only permitted within six inches from
the sea floor. With access to the entire water column, Spring Creek Oyster Co.
will now be able to utilize floating cages to farm their oysters which allow
for better growth and development of the shellfish due to the increase in
nutrients towards the surface. The Cabinet vote came in the wake of a personal
visit by State officials to Alligator Harbor last Monday where the Lovels are
currently cultivating oysters.
After the announcement, Leo Lovel
publically thanked not only the Florida Cabinet and Governor Rick Scott for
their decision, but also TCC President Jim Murdaugh and Director of the TCC Wakulla
Environmental Institute Bob Ballard for their early support of the project.
Both leaders worked closely with Lovel and the State, stressing the
importance of such a business venture to Florida’s environmental health
and its economic future. The TCC Wakulla Environmental Institute is moving forward with a new
certificate program that will train entrepreneurs in oyster farming,
tentatively scheduled to start by this spring. The Institute will continue to
work with the Lovels family for applied research and future training.
Fla. (June 10, 2013) – On Wednesday, May 15, over 60 friends of Wakulla,
including leadership from Tallahassee Community College and the Wakulla
Environmental Institute (WEI), gathered at Spring Creek Restaurant for an open
house to showcase the restaurant’s groundbreaking efforts to cultivate
Lovel, owner and proprietor of Spring Creek, has been exploring the aquaculture
practice of farming oysters in the nearby brackish waters of Wakulla County. He
cultivated oysters for nine months to prepare for the open house event and
offered them for free to all the guests for tasting. He said that the general
consensus was that they were the best tasting oysters most had ever had.
Lovel will begin to offer these delicious treats to Spring Creek’s patrons
in lieu of wild-caught oysters, the populations of which have suffered greatly
in recent months.
County’s coastal region is uniquely suited for such a venture. Oyster farming
is prevalent internationally, but many believe that Wakulla could become the
epicenter of production for this growing industry due to the nutrient-rich
waters and warm climate. Lovel claims to have seen a much more rapid
growth rate with his oysters compared to other producers... read more.