Oyster Season Opens with Multiple Bay Closures
The Texas commercial and recreational oyster season opened in November with many shellfish harvest areas closed to oyster fishing to protect and restore oyster reefs showing signs of environmental stress.
“Oysters are the bedrock for the vitality of our bays along the mid- and upper Texas coast,” says Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director David Yoskowitz. “They are essential to the health of our fish and wildlife, water quality, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and coastal economies. Over time, a variety of environmental factors and localized harvest pressures have greatly impacted this valuable natural resource across the entire Gulf Coast.”
In November, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to permanently close three bays near Matagorda Island to oyster harvesting and temporarily prohibit harvest at specific reefs in San Antonio Bay and the Galveston Bay complex. The closures, which come as pressure has sharply increased from commercial oyster boats in recent years, will protect sensitive and ecologically important reefs and allow them to recover. Oyster season ends April 30.
In March 2022, TPWD formed an oyster advisory work group to study oyster management strategies and issues surrounding the sustainability of oysters in Texas bay systems.
“We recognize the economic impact of these closures on local families and businesses that depend on oyster harvests,” says Robin Riechers, director of Coastal Fisheries for TPWD. “As we continue to work with the oyster industry, we want to balance conservation and restoration needs with those of the commercial fishery.”
TPWD staff TPWD
» Like this story? If you enjoy reading articles like this, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.