ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - On the south side of the Skyway Bridge, the state of Florida owns a nature preserve that will now be home to the Lost Coast Oyster Company.
Brian Rosegger is the owner and says their company’s name is a play on words because oyster farming in Tampa Bay is something long forgotten, until now.
“It’s kind of a newer industry for this region,” Rosegger said.
He says after five failed attempts, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ newly-formed cabinet granted a submerged land lease for a two-acre farm that will grow one million oysters a year.
“It’s off-bottom farming we are going to be growing the oysters in these floating cages that help us control the growing,” he said.
Rosegger spent five years with the federal government studying oysters during and after the BP oil spill. He’s in the process of ordering the cages and has an order in for the seeds to come from a hatchery in the state.
“It’s great for the environment, oysters are filter feeders. Each oyster filters up to 50 gallons of water per day,” he explained.
Multiply by a farm of one million and that’s 50 million gallons of filtered water per day for Lower Tampa Bay.
From the bay to the table – they plan to work with distributors that sell to local restaurants, giving customers the freshest option possible.
The oysters have to grow for nine to 12 months before they can be harvested. Rosegger hopes to have the baskets in the water by the end of this summer.