Galveston Bay’s Conditionally Approved Area TX-6 to be Closed to Oyster Harvest
AUSTIN, November 8, 2015 – Conditionally Approved Areas TX-6 will be closed to all oyster harvest on Nov. 9 due to low abundance of oysters in these areas.
These closings are based on samples collected by the Coastal Fisheries Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and in conjunction with input from oyster industry members.
TPWD has the authority to close an area to oyster harvest when it can be shown the area is being overworked or damaged.
TPWD, working with industry, has established criteria based on the abundance of market-sized oysters (less than 3 inches) and the percentage of small oysters (2-2.9 inches) for determining when an area should be closed.
“Most of the oyster reefs in this area have limited numbers of small and market-sized oysters,” says TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Deputy Division Director Lance Robinson. “In fact, the majority of the oyster population in the area is confined to two oyster restoration sites.” There are additional concerns that there could be increased harvest pressure directed to these small areas because of closures resulting from Department of State Health Services sampling and the majority of Texas’ bays being closed due to red tide.
This closure is designed to provide some protection to undersize oysters so they can reach legal sizes. This area, along with the other areas closed by TPWD, will be closely monitored for reopening.
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).