Oyster fishermen and seafood dealers react to Governor's Council - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oyster fishermen and seafood dealers react to Governor's Council on Oysters

The fishermen and seafood dealers we talked with didn't know about the governor's plans to create the oyster council until they saw on the news. (Photo source: WLOX) The fishermen and seafood dealers we talked with didn't know about the governor's plans to create the oyster council until they saw on the news. (Photo source: WLOX)
PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

What do oyster fishermen and seafood dealers think of the newly created Governor's Oyster Council? Interesting question, since we didn't see any fishermen at Monday's ceremony creating the council. So, WLOX News visited the docks in Pass Christian on Tuesday morning for reaction to the initiative.

The fishermen and seafood dealers we talked with didn't know about the governor's plans to create the oyster council until they saw on the news.

"I'd love to have some improvements. I'd love to see a great future for these oyster reefs. And I hope that this new thing that they're starting will help benefit us," said Darlene Kimball with Kimballs Seafood.

Her business depends on hard working fishermen bringing those oysters ashore. Though recent seasons have been tough, so are the fishermen.

"I have a bunch of guys that are hanging in because they're true fishermen who want to make these reefs come back. They make their living, this is how they support their family. They want to work. They don't want the oyster reefs closed. They're wanting to work with the government to try and get the reefs back like they used to be," said Kimball.

Fisherman Ray Raymond had no comment about what advice he'd give the new oyster council. As for how to improve the long term health of his industry, he says it's several things.

"Not one single thing. Probably a lot of things. Mother Nature," said the fisherman.

On the docks in Pass Christian, the numbers tell the story. Seafood dealers are unloading just a fraction of the boats they did ten years ago.

"On a good day, we probably unload only eight to ten boats, you know. Used to they would unload 20 or 30 boats, you know," said Jeremy Forte, with Jerry Forte Seafood.

Forte says he's glad to see the industry getting some attention from the governor's council.

"Hopefully, it will be something that will help us out. Because we need it right now," he said.

"I'm in for whatever we can do to benefit the oysters coming back like it used to be. I'm all force for it," says Kimball.

This year's oyster season has been hampered by several shutdowns caused by rainfall. Oyster fishermen say they are still finding their ten sack daily limit on the tonging reef just south of Pass Christian harbor.

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