Oyster fishermen battle cold and make history on opening day

Oyster fishermen battle cold and make history on opening day

MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - The Mississippi oyster season opened at sunrise Friday morning. Fishermen faced frigid weather and the likely prospect of another disappointing season.

This year's opening was also historic.

Brutal cold greeted oystermen on a choppy Mississippi Sound this opening day of the season, but under sunny skies at around 10:30 a.m., fishermen Danny Harris delivered the first sack of Mississippi oysters this season and the very first oysters ever unloaded at the new Pass Christian Harbor.

"Pretty oysters. Boy they're fat, salty. Best oysters. About five times better than Louisiana. More meat," said a smiling Harris, as he helped unload the sacks of fresh oysters.

"The weather was bad today, but there's a few out there," Harris said. "Oh, they're good. Try one!"

"Cold. My fingers are still froze. Look at my fingers. The first sack, it took us about 45 minutes to get the first sack. Then, after that, we got the last six sacks in about 40 minutes," said Derrick Esfeller, who worked aboard the Harris boat.

Along with the few fishermen on this opening day, the Department of Marine Resources marine patrol had a strong presence.

"This is a limited season. We want to make sure that the oystermen and fishermen are in the areas that have been designated by the DMR and make sure they stay out of the closed areas," said DMR Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis.

While Harris unloaded his limit of seven sacks of oysters, things weren't as lucky for the second fishermen to arrive. Just a single sack of oysters.

Other boats also managed to find their limit. Hit or miss on this opening day.

The season will likely continue as long as the oysters hold out. How long that will be is anyone's guess.

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