The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is closing TX-16 in Matagorda Bay to commercial and recreational oyster harvest beginning Saturday, March 25, 2017.
This closing is based on samples recently collected by TPWD in response to concerns expressed by the oyster industry to this area being overworked or damaged. Chapter 76, Parks and Wildlife Code, and the Oyster Management Proclamation, Section 58.21(c)(1), allows for the emergency closure of an area to oyster harvest when it can be shown that the area is being negatively impacted.
TPWD and the Oyster Advisory Workgroup, a group of Texas commercial oyster fishermen and dealers, have established criteria for an area being negatively impacted based on the abundance of market-sized oysters (greater than 3 inches) and the percentage of small oysters (2-2.9 inches) for determining when an area should be closed.
“This closure is designed to provide some protection to undersize oysters so they can reach legal sizes. The area will be closely monitored by TPWD and will reopen when criteria thresholds are met,” says TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Deputy Division Director Lance Robinson.
A map showing the area can be found on the Department of State Health Services web site.