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Call to Action: Texas Public Oyster Reefs Need Your Help

By July 26, 2017 Advocacy, News

Texas public oyster reefs need your help. Since 2008 the public oyster reefs in Texas have been continuously overfished by the commercial oyster industry. We now have a unique opportunity to make significant changes and assist Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in managing the commercial harvest of our public reefs to protect and conserve this important resource. TPWD has made several proposals regarding the future management of the oyster fishery, and it needs CCA’s support. The proposals are as follows: 

  • Reduction in daily sack limit to 25 sacks per day (current 40 sacks per day).
  • Closure of Monday to commercial oyster harvest (current legal harvest is Monday-Saturday).
  • Reduction in the undersize (less than 3 inches) tolerance from 15% to 5%.
  • Closure to all oyster harvest in Christmas Bay, Brazoria County; Carancahua Bay, Jackson & Calhoun Counties; Keller Bay, Calhoun County; Powderhorn Lake, Calhoun County; Hynes Bay, Refugio County; St. Charles Bay, Aransas County; South Bay, Cameron County.
  • Creating a “shoreline buffer” to prohibit the harvest of oysters from the water’s edge and extending out to 300 ft. of shorelines in areas designated by the Texas Dept. of Health as Approved or Conditionally Approved for the harvest of oysters.         

This is one of the most significant advocacy efforts CCA Texas has been involved with in recent years. Your support and action on this matter is crucial.

We are asking each CCA member to show their support for these proposals by attending upcoming public meetings to speak in favor of the TPWD proposals at these meetings, and by submitting online comments to TPWD.

1) Public Meetings. TPWD will hold three public meetings to review the proposals and accept public comment. It is critical that CCA Texas has a strong showing at these meetings and that we speak up for our public oyster reefs.

The public hearings will be held at the following locations on Monday August 7, 2017 from 6-9 pm:
Port Lavaca
Calhoun County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Auditorium
186 Henry Barber Way, Port Lavaca, TX 77979
Rosenberg Library
2310 Sealy Street, Galveston, TX 77550
Aransas County Courthouse
301 N. Live Oak St., Rockport, TX 78382

2) Online Public Comment. TPWD has an online public comment portal where you can review and submit your support for the proposals. There are boxes at the top of the page for you to enter your name and county of residence. You must then scroll down to the bottom of the page, click the Agree button, and click Submit. You will need to scroll far down the screen to get to the submit button.

Click here to go to the TPWD public comment portal.

The TPWD Commission will take final action on these proposals during their August 24, 2017 meeting (begins at 9:00 am) that will be held at TPWD Austin Headquarters – 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744. Any proposal, as adopted by the TPW Commission, will become effective November 1, 2017.

Thank you for your grassroots efforts to conserve and protect our public oyster reefs.