Oysters have been a part of the Fairhope, Alabama landscape for centuries. In the early 1900s, oyster farmer Supan worked hard to teach local oyster farmers the importance of spitting out their shells before putting them back into the water. This was done in an effort to preserve the oyster beds and ensure that new oysters could grow. Despite the advances of modern technology, the oyster industry has remained largely unchanged over time. In 1909, state authorities began attempting to rebuild the oyster reef by depositing young oysters from the nearby Mississippi Strait.
Unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful due to the soft muddy bottom of the bay, which was unable to support the growth of new oysters. The introduction of an oyster drill, a snail-like creature that can kill up to 85% of young oysters on a reef, further hindered the growth of new oysters. On March 24th, Wintzell's Oyster House will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its Fairhope branch. The author praised the quality of the oysters found in Mobile Bay, particularly those from Bon Secour which has been a fishing community since the 18th century. While state officials are hopeful that the bay's oyster population will recover, they recognize that the tiny oyster larvae have had difficulty surviving in recent years. The most significant legal changes regarding oyster farming occurred in 1923 and 1933 when parts of the bay were opened to oyster dredging.
This allowed for more efficient harvesting of oysters and increased meat production from 12 pints to 4 pints per bag. However, this also meant that two bags of oysters were now needed to make a gallon, resulting in a financial loss during summer months. In recent years, state authorities have been working hard to restore the Mobile Bay's oyster population. They have implemented various strategies such as introducing new species of oysters and creating artificial reefs. If successful, these efforts could result in millions of oysters scattered far and wide across the bottom of Mobile Bay.
This would not only help restore the reef but also provide a sustainable source of income for local fishermen and farmers. The oyster industry in Fairhope, Alabama has been around for centuries and has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Despite modern advances in technology, the industry has remained largely unchanged. State authorities are hopeful that their efforts will help restore the bay's oyster population and provide a sustainable source of income for local fishermen and farmers.