Originally scheduled to open Nov. 15, season opening will be reevaluated at Feb. 3 Commission meeting
The 2010-2011 oyster season for public seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and in Hackberry Bay will remain closed for now. The season, which was originally supposed to open Nov. 15, 2010, has been under evaluation each month at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meetings since November. The Commission has elected to keep the season closed each month in order to allow oyster spat (young oysters less than one inch in length) to develop.
Samples taken by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists throughout the fall and winter of 2010 indicated the presence of a reproductive event in some areas east of the Mississippi River. The reproductive event resulted in the presence of significant numbers of oyster spat. This spat set represents potential rebound of the oyster resources in this area for future years.
Significant oyster mortalities were also previously documented during summertime biological sampling in some areas, which further decreased an already stressed oyster resource. The continued season delay will help 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, but are currently at some of their lowest oyster availability levels in the last 20 years.
All 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 opened to harvest on November 15, 2010.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For more information, please contact Laura Deslatte at firstname.lastname@example.org  or (225) 610-2363.