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For Information About Fort Morgan Contact Them At:

Fort Morgan
51 State Highway 180 West Gulf Shores, AL 36542

(251) 540-7127

Email: fortmorgan@centurytel.net

Oysters in the Ft. Morgan / Gulf Shores Area

Our own Bon Secour Fisheries ships fresh oysters all over the country from right here in South Baldwin County.

This is cool: 
Read what is going on at the Auburn University Marine Extension
and Research Center

The Ocean Trust and the National Fisheries Institute in conjunction with the NOAA Restoration Center is partnering with Bon Secour Fisheries Inc., the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program to restore oyster reefs in Mobile Bay.Baby oysters (spat) are being grown in floating cages by volunteer oyster gardeners around the bay and by Auburn researchers.  


We can count on local marine biologist Dr. Skip to give up info about one of our local favorite foods:

Ah, for the love of Oysters

People have looked upon oysters as an important food source, and the elite consider it a delicacy. Though, there are other reasons that they’re prized. Oysters have, apparently, always been linked with love. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sprang from the sea on an oyster shell and bore Eros, thus the word "aphrodisiac" was born. In later centuries, the great lover Casanova was said to start a meal by eating a dozen, dozen oysters to ready him for the night’s pleasures. 

In the fossil record oysters appeared during the Triassic period about 200 million years ago and have been an important food source for man since the new Stone Age. The Chinese have raised oysters in ponds for centuries. In 320 B.C. Aristotle speculated in his writing of the “Historia Animalium” that oysters were spontaneously generated from slime. At that time the Greeks served them with wine, and the Romans loved then so much that they sent thousands of slaves to the English Channel to collect them. Some Roman emperors were said to pay for them, ounce for ounce, in gold.

The oyster we have in Alabama is the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). They are filter feeders and consume algae and other water borne foods by filtering water at a rate of up to five liters per hour. When the oyster beds were in their natural untouched state scientists believe that Mobile Bay’s oysters served as a natural water filtering system that turned over the volume of the bay every few days.

The eastern oyster usually lives in water between 8 and 25 feet. Oysters start spawning in the spring when the water temperature rises above a certain level and again in the early fall when it falls below that point. This triggers a chain reaction of spawning, which clouds the water with hundreds of millions of eggs and sperm. Their free-swimming larvae are called spat which settle on any hard substrate, but they prefer oyster shells. 

Oysters are hermaphrodites, which change sex when there isn’t enough of the opposite sex around to provide for enough spawn. Oysters mature at an early age (one year). A single female oyster produces 10 to 100 million eggs annually. Over time, as the oysters live and die their shells form reefs with many nooks and crannies that have fifty times the surface area of flat bottom. These reefs provide habitat for a wide range of animals like worms, snails, juvenile crabs, and fish.

A common rule of thumb has been to eat oysters only in months that have an "R" in their name. This was during cold weather that prevented spoilage. With refrigeration the danger of decay and food poisoning has been all but eliminated. In “non-R” months oyster tend to be on the flaccid side because they have spent all their stored energy on spawning. 

According to NMFS Alabama’s commercial oyster landings, from 1990 to 2000, ranged from 83 thousand pounds of meat in 1990 to 1.2 million pounds in 1993.

Questions for Students:
Why are Alabama’s oyster landings so variable?
What are the three main predators and diseases of oysters in Alabama?

Read Dr. Skip Online !


Fort Morgan Road is in Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542 USA



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