'Historic' red tide could keep oyster reefs closed for months - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

'Historic' red tide could keep oyster reefs closed for months

Oyster fishermen are understandably unhappy with that news. (Photo source: WLOX) Oyster fishermen are understandably unhappy with that news. (Photo source: WLOX)
The CMR was told the required red tide testing to make sure oysters are safe for harvest, could take up to three months. (Photo source: WLOX) The CMR was told the required red tide testing to make sure oysters are safe for harvest, could take up to three months. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Oyster season won't be reopening any time soon in Mississippi. The CMR was told the required red tide testing to make sure oysters are safe for harvest, could take up to three months.

"We've never had one at this level or this intensity. This is a historic event," the DMR's Joe Jewell said at this morning's special meeting of the CMR.

Jewell was talking about the red tide event which closed oyster season nearly two weeks ago.

He told commissioners the bad news is that oyster season may not reopen until March or April because of the stringent testing protocol that's required to ensure the oysters are safe following the red tide.

Oyster fishermen are understandably unhappy with that news.

"It's bad enough we're hurting this Christmas, but that will get much worse if we can't reopen until March or April," said oyster fisherman John Livings.

DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said the department is looking at some kind of work program, such as oyster relaying, to assist the fishermen, but that won't happen at least for a few more weeks.

Steve Phillips was at the meeting this morning and will have full coverage, including reactions from fishermen, tonight on WLOX News and WLOX.com.

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