AUSTIN – The Texas commercial and recreational oyster seasons open at sunrise on Nov. 1, 2017 and close at 3:30 p.m. on April 30, 2018. This year’s oyster season also comes with new rules adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in August. The new rules affect both the recreational and commercial harvest of oysters.
New rules reduce the commercial possession limit of oysters from 40 sacks to 30 sacks per day, reduce the allowable amount of undersized oyster take from 15 percent to 5 percent and close Saturday to the commercial harvest of oysters. An updated version of the commercial fishing guide section relating oysters is available online.
“The goals of these rule changes are to aid in the recovery of oyster resources in Texas’ bay systems, promote efficiency in utilizing oyster resources and provide a more stable price structure for commercially-harvested oysters,” says Lance Robinson, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Deputy Division Director.
The following shellfish harvesting areas will be open for the harvest of oysters beginning on Nov.1, 2017.
Matagorda (East and West) and Lavaca Bay:
San Antonio Bay:
Aransas and Copano Bay:
Corpus Christ Bay:
Lower Laguna Madre:
TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division continues to assess the impact on oysters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The full impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas oyster populations will depend on factors such as how long salinity levels remained low, the quantity and quality of the remaining oyster habitat and the ability of the surviving oysters to spawn before water temperatures drop. For example, sampling in October 2017 found mortalities of 51-100 percent in East Galveston Bay and 32-42 percent in the middle and lower sections of Galveston Bay. Mortalities are similar in other bay systems but vary widely within the system, depending on their proximity to fresh water.