Fishermen want to see growth of oyster resource
CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission recently announced opening dates for the oyster season this fall.
Fishermen in Cameron Parish seem to be satisfied with the dates, but some would like to see management to allow growth of the resource and a better livelihood for fishermen.
The Wildlife Commission set the oyster season to open Nov. 1 in West Cove of Calcasieu Lake and decided the east side will remain closed. As well, Sabine Lake public oyster area will remain closed.
Right now, oyster fishermen are busy with shrimp. Leo Dyson said they are satisfied with the opening date though they would have preferred the season start earlier.
"It's alright for most of the shrimpers, but I think some of the full-time oyster fishermen would like it open a little earlier. It's already set so we just have to live with it," he said.
He's concerned about management of the resource.
"This year here, you got the same area open. Let's hope it can take another whole year of fishing," said Dyson.
Dyson would like to see Sabine Lake opened up.
"Louisiana can draw its boundaries and if Texas disputes it let them do it. You have to make a move to make somebody do something. And if Louisiana takes too much, Texas is sure going to straighten them up. But don't sit there and pass the buck and wait on each other," said Dyson.
The fishermen say another thing that would help them out would be if the state would throw out the system used to decide if the season should be closed due to flood stage and make decisions based on tests of actual oysters.
"The actual oysters, that's the way they do it everywhere else. That's the way they do it. Not this Kinder flood stage. You check the oysters. If they're good, it's open. If they are bad, it's closed. They've never had a bad sample while it was closed. They've never had a bad sample when it was open. But see, Cameron is like a red-headed stepchild, they just don't want to spend no extra time and money on it," said Dyson.
Flood stage in Kinder is considered an indicator of bacteria levels.
Oyster seasons are set by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission based on assessments of the resource by biologists and comments from the public and oyster industry.
State officials say there's extensive documentation to justify closing waters when there's flooding.
The news release with details about the oyster season follows this story.
Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries News
LWF COMMISSION SETS 2013-2014 LOUISIANA OYSTER SEASONS
Aug. 1, 2013– Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2013/2014 oyster seasons based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
The following opening dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - the Little Lake, Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Tambour, and Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one-half hour before sunrise.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - all remaining public oyster seed grounds and reservations, including Lake Borgne, Sister Lake, Lake Mechant, the Lake Machias/Fortuna sacking-only area and the Bay Long sacking-only area, will open at one-half hour before sunrise.
Friday, November 1, 2013 - the oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (DHH Harvest Area 30) will open at one-half hour before sunrise. The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person, per vessel, per day.
The following areas will remain closed for the 2013/2014 oyster season:
Bay Gardene Public Oyster Seed Reservation
Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservation
Lake Chien and Lake Felicity Public Oyster Seed Grounds
2011 clutch plants in Mississippi Sound and California Bay,
2012 cultch plants in Hackberry Bay, Sister Lake, Lake Fortuna, and Bay Crab
2013 cultch plants in 3-Mile Pass and Drum Bay,
The east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (LDHH Harvest Area 29)
Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area
Closure dates will be determined by LDWF Secretary Barham on an "as needed" basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.