MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Today is the first day of oyster harvesting in Alabama waters. Dozens of fishermen will be getting tags to be part of it later this morning. It was busy well before dawn at Barb’s Landing along the Dauphin Island Causeway. People were lining up with their boats in tow. Officials with the Alabama Department of Marine resources will be distributing oyster tags.

Think of it as a gold rush. No one knows how long the season will last. It could last a few days or it could last for several weeks. That all depends on water conditions, how much is harvested, and how quickly.
Also happening this year, they want to improve outreach and education with the oyster tonging community to help explain the factors that go into deciding how long a season lasts.

“Understanding how those regulations were created, the reasons those were created can deal with some of the animus that’s around it but also part of this project is increasing monitoring in these reefs,” said Auburn Assistant Extension Professor Dr. Melissa Partyka. Increased monitoring means asking fishermen to help collect environmental data. That will give scientists a better idea of the relative health of local oyster reefs.