AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is closing TX-7 in Galveston Bay to commercial oyster harvest on Friday, Dec. 2, due to the undersized and low abundance of market-sized oysters in the area.
This closing is based on samples collected on Nov. 14 by TPWD in response to concerns expressed by the oyster industry.
Chapter 76, Parks and Wildlife Code, and the Oyster Management Proclamation, Section 58.21(c)(1), provide for the emergency closure of an area to oyster harvesting when it can be shown that the area is being overworked or damaged.
TPWD and the Oyster Advisory Workgroup, a group of Texas commercial oyster fishermen and dealers, have established criteria 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.
Maps showing these areas can be found on the Department of State Health Services web site (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/seafood/default.aspx).