From CCA Texas Advocacy Director Shane Bonnot:
At the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting on March 24, 2022, the Commission withdrew closure of Oyster Reef Areas within the Mesquite Bay Complex from the agenda. Instead, they opted to ask the Department (TPWD) to form a task force of stakeholders to develop metrics that would define success of a possible closure with the goal of deciding on how to proceed prior to the beginning of the next oyster season on November 1, 2022. Additionally, the task force will also be asked to evaluate the oyster fishery across all bay systems from a wholistic standpoint.
The support to permanently close the Mesquite Bay Complex to oyster harvesting was overwhelming with 79% of public comments favoring the closure. We sincerely appreciate your support through your public comments. YOU made your voice loud and clear. Additionally, 16 non-government organizations submitted individual letters backing the justification for the proposal and offered suggestions to the Commission on how to proceed moving forward. However, after listening to nearly 4 hours of public testimony, the Commission was unable to land on a decision. You can listen to the entire meeting and public comment by clicking here and forwarding the audio to the 18:41 mark.
It is important to remember that the Mesquite Bay Oyster Harvest Area (TX-28) was closed on December 21st of last year and will continue to be temporarily closed for the remainder of the current public oyster season, which ends April 30, 2022.
What’s next? We fight on and continue our work to ensure a sustainable Texas Oyster Fishery which recognizes the structural and ecological benefits of our public oyster reefs.
We will continue to let you know how and when to take action, because we’ll need your voice again to save our Texas Oyster Fishery.
Once again, thank you to everyone who got involved and engaged on this critical issue. Your ongoing support and grassroots efforts to ensure the health and conservation of our marine resources and anglers’ access to them is truly appreciated and will be needed in the near future.