PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Oyster fishermen braved choppy seas and chilly temperatures as they worked the reefs early Friday. While shoppers were filling their bags with bargains on Black Friday, commercial fishermen were hoping to fill their sacks with fresh, Mississippi oysters.
This year's limited oyster season opened two weeks ago in Mississippi waters. The crew aboard the Miss Stacy Leigh managed to find its 10 sack limit.
"It's a tiny spot we're working, that's for sure," said Brandon Seal, whose deckhands included his kids, Madison and Jaden.
Daddy is hoping the season will continue through the holidays.
"Yeah, they're pretty oysters. I don't know how long it's going to last though," said Seal, "I don't know. I hope it lasts until Christmas."
"Should hold out a little while," said Pete Esfeller, "Today was just a bad day."
Pete and Derrick Esfeller have had pretty decent luck lately. But Friday's rough seas proved a bit much.
"Today was just a bad day. Kept falling in the boat. Almost fell overboard so we come on in. We've been getting $600 a day besides today. It was just a bad day," said Derrick Esfeller.
The season opened two weeks ago with a 10 sack limit for dredgers and seven sacks for tongers. But last week, the DMR increased the tonging limit to 10 sacks a day also.
Not only is the new Pass Christian harbor the spot where oystermen unload their catch, it's also a place where seafood lovers can buy fresh oysters, right off the boat.
Gulfport's Mike Quigley picked up a sack of fresh oysters Friday. The dockside price was $75 a sack.
"My son is home from the Navy. And he's got two boys with him from Jersey and Illinois. And they're anxious for a taste of the coast," he explained.
Fishermen are hoping to harvest many more sacks before the DMR closes another limited season.
The executive director of the DMR has the authority to close oyster season when the reefs are depleted. Scientists are monitoring the reefs and the harvest on a daily basis.