Fishermen hope DMR officials don't raise oyster sack limit - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fishermen hope DMR officials don't raise oyster sack limit

Several oyster harvesters we spoke with are worried a good season could turn bad if DMR officials choose to increase the current sack limit. (Photo source: WLOX) Several oyster harvesters we spoke with are worried a good season could turn bad if DMR officials choose to increase the current sack limit. (Photo source: WLOX)
"If they leave the sack limit at 15, extend it and stretch it out, it doesn't hurt the reef as bad. It helps the fishermen and it helps everybody all the way around," Chris Ryan said. (Photo source: WLOX) "If they leave the sack limit at 15, extend it and stretch it out, it doesn't hurt the reef as bad. It helps the fishermen and it helps everybody all the way around," Chris Ryan said. (Photo source: WLOX)
The final decision on any changes to this year's oyster season will be made by DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller. (Photo source: WLOX) The final decision on any changes to this year's oyster season will be made by DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller. (Photo source: WLOX)
PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

There could be some changes to the rest of this year's oyster season, but that won't happen until officials from the Department of Marine Resources talk with local fishermen and seafood dealers about how they feel.

For many, oystering is a full time job that's been done for many years.

"All my life," Chris Ryan said. "I've been commercial fishing by trade. We've done it all off and on all through the years."

Ryan and his partner David Wallis pull in about 15 sacks of oysters a day, per boat. Right now, they say they're doing pretty good. But they're worried that could change if DMR officials choose to increase the sack limit. And they say that decision will do nothing but hurt the reef.

"With an increase they're not going to hold up for a length of time. But if they keep the sack limit where it's at now, it should hold up throughout the season," Wallis said.

"If they leave the sack limit at 15, extend it and stretch it out, it doesn't hurt the reef as bad. It helps the fishermen and it helps everybody all the way around," Ryan said.

Jeremy Forte of Jerry Forte Seafood said he doesn't want to see a change either.

"Everything is running smooth, you know? We wouldn't want everything to bulk up and not be able to sell the oysters. So right now it's working well the way it's going right now," Forte said.

Before anything can change, officials met Friday to discuss three things: sack limit, season quota, and whether to close areas deemed "over harvested". As of right now, the commission voted to leave those decisions up to DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller, which fishermen say they appreciate.

"The fishermen are the ones that know if the reefs are being overworked. If they come to us, we'll be honest with them," Wallis said.

After Miller meets with some of our local fishermen, he will decide what he will do about the rest of the oyster season.

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