The 2010-2011 oyster season for public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and in Hackberry Bay was delayed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in an effort to protect and enrich oysters for future harvest. These public oyster areas were originally scheduled to open on November 15, 2010.
Biological data gathered by LDWF biologists indicates the presence of a recent reproductive event in some areas east of the Mississippi River resulting in the presence of significant numbers of oyster spat (young oysters less than one inch in length). Harvest in these areas was postponed to allow these juvenile oysters appropriate time to mature and become viable for future harvests.
Significant oyster mortalities were also documented during biological sampling in some areas which has further decreased an already reduced oyster resource. The commission took action to delay the season in order to protect and conserve the remaining oyster resources located in these areas. The public grounds east of the Mississippi River contribute approximately 28 percent of all oyster harvest in Louisiana on an annual basis.
The remaining public oyster areas throughout the coast will continue with the current oyster season framework as set by the commission at their August 2010 meeting. Most of these areas will open on November 15, 2010.
The commission authorized Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Secretary Robert J. Barham to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
For more information, contact Patrick Banks at 225.765.2370 (firstname.lastname@example.org).