Oyster lovers are ready for the harvesting to begin - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oyster lovers are ready for the harvesting to begin

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Oystermen could be harvesting oysters in the near future. There has been major concern over the popular seafood since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred. The question many people had was, when will oysters from Mississippi waters be safe to eat? People at the Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport where said they are ready for oyster season to open and don't believe the oysters will be tainted.

Blow Fly Inn Cook said, "Medium to small. Like I said, we were getting really small ones, but these are medium to small."

The quarter sized oysters Blow Fly Inn cooks are preparing are coming from Louisiana waters. Customer Chuck Lizana said oysters from Mississippi waters are known for their large size, but believes even after the reefs in our state open, he will still be eating smaller oysters.

Chuck Lizana said, "I don't think there will be any contamination, but I think the reefs were damaged from all the fresh water before the actual oil spill. So, I think we are going to see a lot of small oysters."

The thought of reefs opening back up in Mississippi waters is good news to Blow Fly Inn Owner Scott Weinberg, but he admits he is skeptical about the harvest.

"We're at a wait and see mode, but I'm hoping we'll get some good oysters. I'm not hearing good things about it. There are some reefs they won't be able to use that are dead," said Scott Weinberg.

Right now matured oysters are costing Weinberg a pretty penny. Almost more than double what he was paying before the spill.

"Well of course I hope the prices will go down. They are expensive right now," said Weinberg.

Fried oyster po-boys continue to be a hot pick on the menu, and Lizana said even if prices go up it will be well worth it to be able to order fresh local seafood.

"I'll be glad when we start getting them from Pass Christian again," said Lizana.

According to the Department of Marine Resources, there is not a set date on when Mississippi oyster reefs will open. DMR officials did say they will most likely be making a decision on when the waters will open for oystermen in the next couple of weeks. Mississippi oyster tissue was sampled by DMR, NOAA and the FDA. Results determined oysters are safe for human consumption.    

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