Plans to open Bonnet Carre Spillway worry oyster fishermen - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Plans to open Bonnet Carre Spillway worry oyster fishermen

The opening of the spillway in 2011 had disastrous results on the reefs and oyster season. (Photo source: WLOX) The opening of the spillway in 2011 had disastrous results on the reefs and oyster season. (Photo source: WLOX)
MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) -

It's quite a one-two punch to local oyster fishermen. First, red tide shuts down what had been a promising season. Now, the news about the planned opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

Fishermen worry about the negative impact to the reefs from the fresh water intrusion that will result, and their concerns are valid. The opening of that spillway in 2011 had disastrous results on the reefs and oyster season.

"We haven't had but 10 days to go oystering this season," said a clearly frustrated Dicky Ray Payne.

Payne just bought his own boat. Now, there's no oyster season to put it to work.

"I guess I'll just go crabbing and try to make a little money," said Payne.

It's tough, but Payne has been a fisherman all his life.

"I'm going to make it work," he promises, even though Mother Nature and the odds seem to be against him right now.

So, how bad will the impact from the spillway opening be on the oyster reefs? The DMR's Melissa Scallan said it's nearly impossible to tell right now. She said that all depends on how long the spillway is kept open and how much fresh water is released.

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