In other states, farmers can use systems of mesh bags filled with baby oysters and grow them to harvestable size in floating cages tethered to the bottoms of estuaries. The oysters can be mechanically sorted by size and age and re-bagged every few months to maximize profit and predictability. This method also produces the deep-cup, single oysters restaurant goers are accustomed to seeing on their plates.
That method remains illegal in Georgia. In the Empire State of the South, only wild oysters can be harvested by the state’s 17 “master collector permit” holders. This means most of the oysters from Georgia’s waters end up being used for backyard roasts and fetch less money at market than their competitors from states like Alabama, Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas. Read more