The CMR expects another tough oyster season

The Commission on Marine Resources decided Tuesday that when Mississippi's oyster season opens, only tonging will be allowed, and even that will be limited. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Commission on Marine Resources decided Tuesday that when Mississippi's oyster season opens, only tonging will be allowed, and even that will be limited. (Photo source: WLOX)

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - There are no oysters being unloaded at the Pass Christian docks right now, but those in the seafood industry were anticipating that would change in just a few weeks.

"I was very hopeful," said Darlene Kimball, owner of Kimball's Seafood. "The past few weeks I've been hearing positive things and then yesterday we hear a little bit of negative things about not having a good turnout of oysters."

Tuesday, Kimball's fears were confirmed. The Commission on Marine Resources decided when oyster season opens to limit it to tonging and for only a limited time. With no dredging being allowed, Kimball knows it is going to be another tough season.

"I'm going to have to seek other options to make it through the winter months," Kimball said, "because I depend on oysters. So we are going to move other products to compensate for the losses."

She is not alone, the folks at Crystal Sea's Seafood in Pass Christian are also trying to figure out how they are going to survive another bad oyster season.

Jennifer Jenkins said, "I'm very disappointed. It's going to hurt our business a lot."

While it is another huge let down for those who rely on seafood to make a living, Kimball said she has unfortunately come to expect it.

"Oyster season, hopefully, will come back in a year or so, maybe two years," Kimball said, "I don't know, Mother Nature holds all cards in that, but I'm wishing for the best and praying for the best that we will get something out of this year."

Oyster season normally begins in October, oyster fishermen said the season has not gone past Christmas since before the BP oil spill. The CMR has yet to set when the limited season will begin.

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