Local News

Texas Oyster Season Better Than First Thought Post-Harvey

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Tony Maples Photography


Despite the effects of Hurricane Harvey, harvesters along coastal Texas have identified that the public oyster season is far better than they anticipated. With the hurricane dumping over 50 inches of rain on parts of southeast Texas, many oysters were killed by the deluge freshwater, in the eastern part of Galveston Bay in particular, according to Lance Robinson, Coastal Fisheries regional director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Following this disaster, it could take a number of years for their populations to begin fully recover.

“We lost pretty much everything in east Galveston Bay,” Robinson explained. However other regions along the Texas Gulf Coast have since reopened, and it’s been noted that Prestige Oysters in San Leon are purchasing them from approximately 90 boats. “My expectation really was that all the oysters would die,” explained Raz Halili, vice president of the distribution company. “Seeing fishermen able to work and make a living is really kind of a miracle.” He noted that the oysters’ resilience through the storm and its after-effects was a good sign for their population. In the meantime, his company together with others has worked to rebuild reefs to maintain a healthy population.

Robinson identified that he’s hopeful about the Texas Gulf’s crop of oysters as a result of an industry spike which took place following Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979. That storm had destroyed the majority of the oyster population but also managed to kill off the parasites that prey on them. Statistics from a couple of years post-Claudette identified an oyster production increase, and he anticipates the same in this instance. “I would guess we’ll see a similar pattern emerge in the next couple of years in Galveston Bay, barring any other big storms,” he explained. “But I know that doesn’t necessarily bode well for the industry in the interim.”