Opening of Oyster Reefs Announced

Oyster Fishermen are reminded that effective September 27, 2004, the oyster reefs will be open from 6:00 am until 3:00 pm Monday through Friday.  Also, effective Saturday, October 2nd  and each Saturday through the last Saturday in December of each year, those public water bottoms opened to oystering shall be opened to the taking of oysters only from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  The commercial harvest of oysters by licensed oyster catchers is currently limited to eight (8) sacks per licensed oyster catcher per day [according to the standard Alabama measure of one-quarter (1/4) Alabama barrel per sack] or sixteen (16) sacks per boat per day regardless of the number of licensed oyster catchers on board the boat.  These measures were developed in coordination with Representative Spencer Collier and Mayor Stanley Wright of Bayou la Batre.

Governor Bob Riley has extended the grace period  for the 2004 licenses through 0ctober 31, 2004.  Normally licenses expire September 30 of each year, but due to the hardships on the seafood industry the grace period was extended.

Biologists are currently assessing the damage to the reefs from hurricane Ivan and Marine Resources Division Director R. Vernon Minton is actively working with oyster fishermen to evaluate the state of the fishery.  Following the assessment recommendations will be made regarding conservation measures to ensure the health of the fishery.  The Division will work with FEMA after assessment to ensure state and federal cooperation to restore the health of the reefs after the hurricane.