Texas Fishermen Rejoice: 23K Acre Oyster Lease Now Void

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STORM, or Sustainable Texas Oyster Resource Management, held a lease that allowed them to run 23,000 acres in Galveston Bay how they saw fit. This means that anyone other than STORM wanting to fish in their acreage would have to ask permission. The privatization of such a large portion of the water upset many fishermen and led to a lawsuit, but now the controversial lease has been overturned.

Houston Public Media quoted the President of Gulf Coast Oysters, Jure Slabic, who was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He said, “Today was a huge battle that was won, not just for private oyster leaseholders; all recreational and sports fishermen, commercial fishermen, and all citizens of the state of Texas. A priceless resource was saved today thanks to the ruling of Judge (Lonnie) Cox.”

Even though Judge Cox stated that the lease did not follow state regulations, STORM spokesperson Tracy Woody said, “We will continue to maintain that the rights of property owners must be protected. We feel that the law is clear in its protection of these rights that all owners of property should enjoy. The state cannot lease to others what it does not own. Our lease and our rights come from the rightful owner of the property. We welcome the opportunity to clarify that these long and well-established principles still apply today.”

For now, many Texas fishermen will celebrate the win.