Oyster Season will be delayed for up to Two Weeks

The following is a Press Release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

The opening of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds will be delayed for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. At the latest, the season would open at one half-hour before sunrise on October 31, 2011.

Officials with LDWF are working with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, the Commission has given Secretary Barham authority to open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency,biomass and sediment samples,in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals' harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

The Louisiana 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 press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.