DMR Emergency Oyster Program Begins

Gulf Coast fishermen headed out to catch and transport oysters for the Department of Marine Resources emergency oyster recovery program.
News 25’s Laurene Callander has the details on the first day of the program.
Just as the sun came up in South Mississippi, fishermen checked in at the Pass Christian Harbor for the first day of the DMR emergency oyster recovery program. Fishermen who were pre-approved by the DMR were able to participate in this program and get paid from disaster funds. Melissa Scallan with DMR Public Affairs said, “Fishermen are going out to St. Joe reef and then they’re going to collect their oysters and then we’re going to put them on barges and bring them. Some of them will go to the Biloxi Bay and others will go to some reefs in eastern Pass Christian.”
Coast fishermen are in a race against time. Freshwater is making its way to the Mississippi Sound after the Bonnet Carre Spillway opened over a week ago. “We’re not exactly sure how bad it’s going to be but we wanted to be proactive and take steps to get the oysters out of harm’s way just in case it was as bad as 2011,” said Scallan.
Fishermen were eager to get back out in the waters this morning because this is how they make their living and feed their families. Fisherman Brandy Toler said, “It’s very important. This is how we make our living. This is our livelihood. When we can’t fish, we don’t have an income.”
Fortunately for the eligible fishermen, the emergency program will put some money in their pockets for the time being.
Fishermen are required to report to either the Pass Christian check station or the Bayou Caddy check station before going to the reef and after making their catch. The daily limit is 200 sacks of oysters per boat.

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