AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is closing TX-7 in Galveston Bay and TX-20 in Lavaca Bay to commercial and recreational oyster harvest beginning Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.
This closing is based on samples recently collected by TPWD showing low abundance of legal-sized oysters. 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 is being negatively impacted.
TPWD and the Oyster Advisory Workgroup, a group of Texas commercial oyster fishermen and dealers, have established criteria for an area being negatively impacted based on the abundance of market-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.”
A map showing the area can be found on the Department of State Health Services web site.