AUSTIN- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted new regulations for the statewide oyster fishery last week that reduce commercial possession limits, establish additional harvest restrictions and close additional bays to oyster harvest. The new rules affect both the recreational and commercial harvest of oysters.
The new rules reduce the commercial possession limit of oysters from 40 sacks to 30 sacks per day, reduces the allowable amount of undersized oyster take from 15 percent to 5 percent and closes Saturday to the commercial harvest of oysters from Nov. 1 to April 30 annually.
The commission also closed the following minor bays to all oyster harvest beginning Nov. 1, 2017…
Christmas Bay, Brazoria County.
Carancahua Bay, Calhoun and Matagorda County.
Powderhorn Lake, Calhoun County.
Hynes Bay, Refugio County.
St. Charles Bay, Aransas County.
South Bay, Cameron County.
Areas along all shorelines with state health department approved or conditionally approved areas for shellfish harvest extending 300 feet from the water’s edge or exposed oysters inside of the 300-foot area.
“The goals of these rule changes are to aid in the recovery of oyster resources in Texas’ bay systems, promote efficiency in utilizing oyster resources and should provide a more stable price structure for commercially harvested oysters,” says Lance Robinson, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Deputy Division Director.
Prior to rulemaking by the Commission, TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division held three public hearings on along the Texas coast to take public comment on the new regulations. Over 1,470 total comments were received with 80 percent supporting these proposals.