The Texas Gulf Coast is a unique and amazing place to explore. This complex ecosystem is created by mixing of waters from different sources. It provides nursery and spawning grounds for many types of marine life including crabs, shrimp, oysters, and many varieties of fish. The bayous, rivers, and marshes that ring the bay support diverse wildlife including the American alligator, bobcats, and many bird species. A large commercial fishing industry has grown around Galveston Bay. The bay aso supports a significant recreation and tourism industry, like hiking and birdwatching in the National Wildlife refuge and wetlands. According to the Houston Chronicle, recreational and industrial oyster fishing is going to be limited.
Galveston Bay closed to oyster harvesting starting this weekend
Get there while you can.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is closing a wide swath of Galveston Bay to oyster harvesting starting this weekend.
That’s because recent samples indicate that most of these mollusks are too small to be caught legally, according to the department. Oysters under three inches cannot be legally captured.
The department closed areas TX-1, TX-5, TX-6 and TX-7 (as seen on this Texas Department of State Health Services map).
Those waters have limited numbers of legally sized oysters, according to Christine Jensen, Galveston Bay Ecosystem team lead.
“This closure is designed to provide some protection to undersize oysters so they can reach legal size,” Jensen said. “These areas will continue to be monitored by TPWD and will reopen when criteria thresholds are met.”
The closure goes into effect midnight Friday.
Harvesting, both commercially and for recreation, is best between the holidays and the first week of April, according to Galveston Bay advocacy group Back The Bay.
Galveston Bay provides most of the oyster harvesting for the state.
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