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UPDATE: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Takes Bold Steps to Conserve Oyster Reefs in Carlos, Mesquite and Ayres Bays

Texas oyster reefs are a critical component of the natural landscape, providing important services for our bay systems and coastline.

While resilient, the oyster fishery has limitations and we must be proactive in our efforts to improve its sustainability and promote reef growth. As outlined in the suggested measures below, we need to prioritize the ecological and structural value of oysters in the water including safeguarding existing reefs and creating new ones. The oyster is so much more than just a fishery; it is a crucial foundational component of our bays’ ecosystem – healthy oyster reefs mean a strong and sustainable coastline now and in the future. Help us advocate for a more sustainable oyster fishery by sharing information from this page and constructively engaging with policy makers.

Shane Bonnot
Advocacy Director, CCA Texas

Oysters – A Valuable Resource

Photo courtesy of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

  • The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is our most valuable coastal resource, providing critical habitat for fish and invertebrate species, shoreline stabilization, water quality enhancements and numerous other ecological functions.
  • The compounding effects of increased fishing pressure in smaller areas, hurricanes, tropical storms, droughts, flood events and unscrupulous actions by some within the commercial oyster industry have resulted in unprecedented destruction and loss of our public oyster reefs.
CLICK HERE to Learn More!

Suggested Measures to Improve the Sustainability of the Oyster Fishery

Photo Courtesy of John Blaha

  • Expand the legally approved state bay-bottom lease program (certificate of location) for commercial oystermen.
  • Create opportunities for non-harvestable bay-bottom conservation leases.
  • Promote increased participation in cultivated oyster mariculture (oyster farming).
  • Designate sanctuary reefs in bay systems to serve as spawning reserves for public reefs.
  • Refine metrics for opening and closing shellfish harvest areas.

CCA Texas Taking Action

CCA Texas, FlatsWorthy and numerous committed conservation groups took an important first step in addressing critical concerns with the continued decline of public oyster reefs in a letter to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The letter is the beginning of a broader and crucial dialogue necessary to:

  • Prioritize the STRUCTURAL value of reefs
  • Prioritize the ECOLOGICAL value of reefs
  • Provide opportunities to SAFEGUARD more reef systems
  • Provide opportunities to CREATE more reef systems

Taking action will ultimately lead to a healthier oyster fishery.

Read the Full Letter Here

Photo Courtesy of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Know and SHARE the Facts

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Oyster Updates

WATCH – FlatsWorthy on Carlos Reef

By | News, Oysters

Carlos Reef is an important part of the habitat along the Texas coast. This was once a continuous structure from San Jose Island to Bloodworth Island. Now it serves as weakened baffle structure. It is important to maintain this reef to preserve its integrity, which is integral to the health of our fishery and the ecosystem as a whole.

Read More

WATCH – FlatsWorthy on Ayers Reef

By | News, Oysters

Ayers Reef is one of the last 2 remaining intact barrier reefs. It is the first to accept the force of water coming out of San Antonio Bay and Espritu Santu since the Second Chain of Islands has been so greatly diminished. It must be saved through a sanctuary program.

Read More