The Department Of Marine Resources Restore Oyster Reefs Damaged During Katrina - - The News for South Mississippi

The Department Of Marine Resources Restore Oyster Reefs Damaged During Katrina

Fishery Scientist, Marty Jones and contract worker, Melton Southern, love oysters, but this past year Katrina made it hard for them and many others to enjoy that love. The storm's force did some major damage to the oyster reefs in these gulf waters.

"At least 90 percent of our oysters are damaged or destroyed or covered up," says Jones.

"This is the worst storm I have seen in my life," says Southern.

But instead of dwelling on the destruction, the two men along with coworkers from the Department of Marine Resources are on a mission to help restore the oysters reefs by planting a new batch of shell plants.

"Nature Conservancy has donated 3 hundred sacks of shells to shell plant in Middle Bay in Jackson County," says Jones.

"We put the shells out there and the spat come out in the spring and fall and the oysters grow," says Southern.

And through this process Jones is hoping fisherman will have a better catch for next season.

"It is a conditionally approved growing water area where they can harvest the oysters once they get to three inches," says Jones. "Plus, these shell plants will help with fishing, develop reefs to help with fishing, crabbing, and shrimping."

And fisherman are not the only ones that will see a profit. Southern says more oysters means more dollars, and that means happy people in South Mississippi.

"It's very important to the economy, to the people who eat them, and to the tourist to everybody," says Southern.

Along with this donation the Department Of Marine Resources received more than 14 million dollars in grant money from Congress to assist in the restoration and recovery of gulf fisheries.

By Patrice Clark

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