Published: Sep 21, 2012 11:39 AM EDT

CEDAR KEY, Fla. (AP) - Officials say an oyster collapse in the Gulf of Mexico along Florida's Big Bend and Panhandle will just have to run its course.
    
Shellfish aquaculture expert Leslie Sturmer says too much salt in the water and high temperatures have stressed the oysters. They've also been fighting a parasite.
    
The oysters have been dying from Cedar Key west to Apalachicola. Sturmer says clams farmed in the same areas are not affected.
    
Restaurants in north Florida tell The Gainesville Sun (http://bit.ly/RHE1GO ) that the shortage is forcing them to sell smaller oysters at higher prices.
    
Mark Berrigan of Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the die-off might be worst in Cedar Key. State data shows that the Levy County island community produced 131,821 pounds of oysters last year.
    
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Information from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, http://www.gainesvillesun.com

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