I went out with Jason Herrmann, a biologist with the Alabama Marine Resources Division, Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright, and Wright’s brother, oysterman Gordon Wright, while they surveyed the bottom of Mobile Bay for the health of the oyster populations that local oystermen rely on. The drought that recently ended decreased the fresh water that made it this far south, and with the increased salinity in the area’s waters, the Florida rock snail, which is a predator of the oyster, emerged and thrived.
The Marine Resources Division is working with the Wrights to take steps that will re-enforce the oyster populations in the area.
So this is the infamous Florida rock snail. Of course, these are just shells that washed up on the shoreline, but they once housed the culprit responsible for the depletion of local oyster populations.
Marine Resources is studying the possibility of repopulating depleted areas with thriving oysters from protected areas. The surveys are helping them figure out where the healthy oysters are.
These oysters came up dead, and that’s the problem.