Two Oyster Reefs Reopen

The Department of Marine Resources reopened two oyster reefs after issues with water samples closed them three weeks ago. News 25’s Laurene Callander snagged some fishermen who say they’re thankful for this. In fact, their livelihood may depend on it.
Brandy Toler and her husband live off the Coast waters. The catch they pull in is how they provide for their family which includes three kids. Toler says the DMR’s decision to reopen the Henderson Point and Pass Christian reefs Monday morning is a lifesaver for them. “It’s very important. This is how we make our living. This is our livelihood and when we can’t fish, we don’t have an income.”
Many fishermen are eager to fill up empty chests with oysters but DMR officials assure them there is a good reason they kept the reefs closed. DMR Public Information Officer Melissa Scallan said, “People can become ill if they eat oysters that have bacteria in them. You can get sick and if you’re immune system is compromised, it can be very serious. That’s why we want to make sure that they’re safe and we certainly understand the fishermen and they want to keep them open. It is how they make their living but we also want to make sure people are safe.”
DMR closed the reefs right after the season opened on November 11th because of unclear water samples in the Pearl River. If the water level is over 12 and a half feet, the reefs close down. 
On this day, those like Brandy Toler cling to the hope that the reefs will stay open until the season is scheduled to end. “It opens and closes, opens and closes. It’s open for two days and closed for two months. We just never know and from what I hear, it’s going to be a wet winter and that’s going to keep us closed.”
For more information on the oyster reefs, you can contact the Mississippi DMR oyster hotline at 228-374-5167.

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