Oyster season closing, but could reopen - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oyster season closing, but could reopen

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

There are few oyster boats heading in and out of the Pass Christian Harbor lately and the ones that do are small boats. That is because dredging season has already been closed meaning oystermen are now limited only to tonging.

Oysterman Mackenzie Travis said, "Dredging was fair until the end then it was scratchy and stuff, it's not much left on the dredge reef, but tonging reef is fair. I can't complain as long as we are working."

But Saturday is the last day Travis will be working for a while because the DMR is closing reefs for tonging too.

"It's just closing because the Pearl River is high and it's too much fresh water, but they are going to take water samples and stuff and put us back to work, as soon as they are good," Travis said.

He is hopeful he will be back to work in a week, so is Darlene Kimball with Kimball Seafood who said she is already struggling to meet the demands of her customers.

Kimball said, "There's a lot of people waiting in line for them, they call, but you really can't take an order for something you don't have yet."

Each boat is only allowed to bring back 12 sacks while tonging as opposed to 20 sacks for dredging.

"They are all coming in with their limit, but there is not a lot of the tongers working and so that hurts in the long run not having a lot of oysters," Kimball said.

Those in the oyster industry said they have come to understand the need to work with mother nature.

"I will take the tonging, something is better than nothing and I'm just happy to be here," Kimball said.

Travis said, "You just got to work everyday you can while it is open and save for days like that. It's the only way."

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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