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GALVESTON, Texas (FOX 26) – The six-month long Texas oyster season has begun with signs of recovery after Hurricane Harvey.
Most of Galveston Bay’s oyster reefs have been closed for more than a year. Much of the storm’s record-setting rainfall flowed into Galveston Bay. Fresh water is toxic to the oysters, and the runoff killed much of the bay’s population.
Now, many of the state-designated oyster reefs have been reopened and dozens of boats circled the waters, dredging the bottom for healthy oysters.
“After the hurricane, it was a bit of an eerie feeling,” says Raz Halili, of Prestige Oysters, “You don’t know what you’re going to find out there, what area’s going to be open, and what’s going to be left, or alive.”
In these early days of the new season, most oyster crews appear able to catch the state limit of 30-sacks of oysters. That’s about 3,000 pounds-worth, destined for restaurants and tables from Texas to Florida.
Protecting the bay’s oyster habitat is vital, not just for those who enjoy eating the delicacy, but for the health of the water.
The Galveston Bay Foundation works year-round to restore the oyster reefs. The mollusks are natural filters for the water.
“If we had abundant reefs in the bay, we’d have much cleaner, clearer water for all of us to enjoy,” says GBF Habitat Restoration Manager Haille Leija.
That’s something the oystermen want, as well.
Healthy water means healthy oysters, and healthy pocketbooks.