Panacea Oyster Co-op and Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. aim to build Sunshine State’s first hatcheries
Rob Olin started Panacea Oyster Co-op with the goal of providing farmers with everything they needed to grow and sell premium oysters at a profit. There was just one problem: The Crawfordville, Fla., facility lacked a critical component for success.
“We don’t have a hatchery,” he said. “If we want to be successful, we need to close that loop.”
Panacea currently produces 20,000 oysters per week – a number expected to jump to 60,000 as soon as this spring when the latest batch of spat matures. Since opening in 2015, Olin has relied on limited amounts of oyster seed produced in some Florida clam hatcheries or seed sourced from hatcheries in other states, including those at Louisiana State and Auburn universities, to meet demand.
“Florida doesn’t have an exclusive oyster hatchery,” Olin explained.
Thanks to two Florida businesses, that’s about to change.
Panacea and Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. are working to open oyster hatcheries in Florida. If they are successful, they will be the first dedicated oyster hatcheries in the state and their presence could have a significant impact on the oyster aquaculture industry in Florida.