Oysters making a comeback on Alabama reefs

Mobile County

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reopened the oyster season February 4th.

Cedar Point West, just west of the Dauphin Island bridge is open to commercial and recreational harvesters. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a commercial limit of six sacks.

High waters and a small population called for the halt of production in January. The Alabama Marine Resource Division (MRD) surveyed the Cedar Point West, Cedar Point East and Heron Bay reefs again and found the oyster population better than expected.

“There were some oysters that were not detected during our survey, but while the oyster catchers were working, they found a pretty sizeable area of harvestable oysters. So we’re going to give them the opportunity to work in that area.”

Scott Bannon, MRD Director

The waters closed on December 27th, 2019 when high waters threatened increased bacteria levels in the area. Before this week’s reopening, Alabama oystercatchers had harvested 9,500 sacks of mollusks.

A harvestable oyster:

  • 3 inches across its widest point. (MRD Conservation Enforcement Officers use a 3-inch ring to measure the oysters)
  • If the oyster passes through the ring, it is considered sublegal or undersized.
  • If the oyster touches the sides of the 3-inch ring, it is considered legal to harvest.
  • MRD officers inspect for licenses, oyster size and sack size to ensure compliance with the regulations.

“The price was really good this season. At one point, it was 85 cents per pound, which was almost double historic highs. When the waters closed in December, they were still 65 cents per pound.”

Scott Bannon, MRD Director

To read the full article by David Rainer, click here.

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