Oyster season closure affects Cameron oystermen

By Crystal Price - bio | email

CAMERON, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that it will be closing oyster season on the east side of Calcasieu Lake more than a month early due to "sustained heavy harvest pressure" in the area.

A huge number of oystermen from Cameron oyster on the west side of Calcasieu Lake that will remain open through April 30th. However, the fishermen fear the closure on the east side will still affect their harvest this year.

Channing Mock, an oysterman from Cameron, said the east side closure is likely to bring more oystermen to the west side of Calcasieu Lake.

"The people who can't afford to take off are going to be over here on the west side," said Mock. "I'd like them to keep the season open at least a little bit longer to get us some extra time."

Mock said an overpopulated west side of Calcasieu Lake could hurt the harvest for fishermen the last month of oyster season.

Another issue that Mock has faced this oyster season is the dropping price the fisherman make per sack.

"Right now it's $25 per sack," said Mock. "They keep on dropping the price of sacks and it doesn't give you much time at all to make a profit."

Mock added that the oyster catch has also been rare this season.

"It's a lot dirtier and a lot more people are oystering now so it's cleaning a bunch of reefs up," said Mock.

Mock also argues that the oyster season started a month too early this year.

"When they open it too early, they don't give enough time for the reef to fill back up," said Mock.

Mock added he plans to continue oystering and to make the best of the last month of the oyster season.

"We're going to keep going until the last day, then we'll jump on our shrimp boats and try shrimping again," said Mock. "We're just hoping the season is a lot better next year."

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