US Senate looks at troubled oyster industry
APALACHICOLA, Fla. (AP) -- The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is holding a field hearing in the Panhandle to hear first-hand about the near-collapse of the state's oyster industry.
Both U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson will attend the hearing being held in the Franklin County Courthouse.
Rubio asked for the hearing so fellow senators can understand the "dire impacts" that decreased flows of freshwater have had on oysters in Apalachicola Bay. Most of Florida's oysters come out of the bay.
Senators are scheduled to hear from both state and federal officials about the conditions in the bay.
Federal authorities on Monday declared a fishery disaster for those who harvest oysters out of the Gulf of Mexico. The declaration sets the stage for possible help from the federal government if Congress approves it.
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