PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced Friday it is considering several sites in the Mississippi Sound for off-bottom oyster farming.
The agency initially planned to develop an oyster farming site off Henderson Point. But, after hearing opposition from people living in the area, DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said other options are now being considered.
"We have identified several places where we believe oyster aquaculture will work, and one of those was 'between the bridges' in the Bay of St. Louis," Miller said. "However, after having a public hearing and meeting with some residents, we have decided not to pursue this site."
Many people living near Henderson Point said the oyster farming project would halt growth and devalue the area.
"We got organized and we spoke with one voice and yes we felt that they listened," said Ron Bookbinder.
Henderson Point Civic Association President, Jim Huertin, says no one in the association wanted the aquaculture built.
"This is a blue crab area, speckled trout, gigging flounder, so it's not the place for oyster aquaculture.We definitely favor oysters, but not right here," said Huertin.
Miller did not say what areas the DMR is looking at now.
The goal of the oyster farming project is to produce 1 million sacks of oysters by 2025. That goal was set by the Governor's Oyster Council.
"Most coastal states have aquaculture programs, including our neighbors in the Gulf - Alabama, Louisiana and Florida," Miller said. "We believe it can be successful in Mississippi also."