Beginning Saturday, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be closing an area of Copano Bay to commercial and recreational oyster harvest.
According to TPWD the closing, in an area known as TX 32, is based on recently collected samples showing low abundance of legal-sized oysters.
TPWD says Chapter 76, Parks and Wildlife Code, and the Oyster Management Proclamation, Section 58.21(c)(1), allows for the emergency closure of an area to oyster harvest when it can be shown that the area has been overworked or is to be reseeded.
TPWD and the Oyster Advisory Workgroup, a group of Texas commercial oyster fishermen and dealers, have established criteria based on the abundance of legal-sized oysters (greater than 3 inches) and the percentage of small oysters (2-2.9 inches) for determining when an area should be closed.
“Sampling results indicate the number of legal oysters is very limited in these areas,” says TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Deputy Director Lance Robinson. “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 next November unless sampling indicates a continuation of the closure is warranted.”