For eons, oysters have been harvested by digging them out at low tide or by tonging, using a long post hole type tool to lift the bivalves from the water, but now the lack of fresh water supplies has devastated Florida’s oyster production. Many now believe that the future is in oyster ranching.
The Panacea Oyster Co-Op may soon be the largest oyster ranch in Florida. There are 38 leases and it totals more than 50 acres that are devoted to growing oysters in cages.
Attorney Fred Harris is one of the brains behind the co-op.
"We helped put this together so the co-op would be the marketing arm, and the branding arm, and the distribution arm." Harris said.