Mississippi oystermen discouraged by catch - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi oystermen discouraged by catch

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PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

There was a lot of hustle and bustle at the Pass Christian dock Friday afternoon. Oystermen were busy unloading their catch and several customers were there to buy fresh sacks straight off the boats. But those in the oyster industry say it is not as good as it looks.

Seafood distributor Darlene Kimball said, "Last week we had a good harvest meaning we had a bunch of them that came in, they were very pretty, this week they are having to work to find them."

Oysterman Drew Livings is frustrated. "It's too many boats, we don't have enough oysters to supply the boats with the catch, so it's starting to look bad."

The past two years have been extremely difficult for those who make a living off of oysters.

"Before the BP oil spill I was unloading about 80 boats a day here," Kimball said. "So it's a big difference from 80 to 25, but I'm happy to be here and happy we have something."

"Last year we got a three or four day season, so there was not even a dredge season last year or the year before last," Livings said.

He wishes the DMR would do more to help those who have been struggling for several years now.

"They need to catch oysters that are in the areas where you are not allowed to fish and put them in areas where you can fish," Livings said.

But until something is done, he said he will take it day by day and just hope the season remains open.

"We have an eight month season and this time they only have given us barely two months, the 28th of December is going to be our last day," Livings said. "I just hope it lasts a whole two months."

"I'm leaving it in God's hands," Kimball said. "I know it's going to be great for us one day we are going to be back to where we were years ago, just very thankful we do have what we have."

Right now, a sack of oysters is going for around $40 at the dock.

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