MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - According to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Phase 1 of the Emergency Oyster Recovery Program is complete.
The plan to relocate oysters from reefs in the western part of the Mississippi Sound to the eastern end of the sound and Biloxi Back Bay was put into motion following the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana.
DMR officials and oyster fishermen feared the fresh water intrusion from the spillway would decimate the Mississippi oyster population.
According to DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller, between 12,000 and 15,000 sacks of oysters were relocated during the three-day program. Sacks are still being counted, and the agency hopes to have an official number Thursday.
Miller said weather played a large part in the decision to end Phase 1 on Wednesday.
"After evaluating what the fishermen harvested on Wednesday, we realized that the majority of the oysters have been taken from St. Joe Reef," Miller said. "Also, weather conditions will begin deteriorating Thursday, and that was another factor we considered when making this decision."