SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced Monday that reefs in areas II "A", which includes northern portions of the Pass Christian and Henderson Point reefs and Hornets Reef, and II "F", which includes the southern portions of Pass Christian reef will be open for tonging only. The Telegraph and St. Joe reefs will be open for dredging and tonging.
Officials say all other areas will remain closed for the harvest of oysters. All Mississippi waters and public or private reefs will be closed on Sundays, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day Officials say all rules and regulations related to oyster harvesting remain in effect.
There are maps available showing the details of open areas as well as copied of the limited oyster season. Those can be picked up at the Biloxi office of the MDMR, or the oyster check stations in the Pass Christian Harbor and at Bayou Caddy.
Recreational oyster fishermen are limited to three sacks per licensed individual in a seven-day period. The limit for commercial fishermen will be seven sacks per day for tongers and 10 sacks for dredgers.
This season was approved by the Commission on Marine Resources last week. The CMR voted to allow a limited dredging season, despite recommendations from DMR scientists. The scientists said dredging for oysters right now could hamper the recovery of some of the areas damaged reefs. But Richard Gollott, chairman of the CMR, said fishermen should be given a chance to dredge since many of the oysters are dying anyway.