The Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has announced that an Alabama oyster harvest is set to start next month.
The department said it will open limited areas of public oyster bottoms for weekday harvest Oct. 2 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Harvesters should visit the Oyster Management Stations across from Jemison’s Bait and Tackle (16871 Dauphin Island Parkway, Coden) or Delta Port Marina (5080 Green Drive, Coden) to drop off their OMS ID cards and confirm which grids are open for harvest prior to the start of their harvesting trip.
Cedar Point East grids will open Oct. 2.
Cedar Point East grids will close based on evaluations of the harvest by MRD staff and additional areas will be opened to harvest. Information will be posted at OMS locations and on MRD social media sites.
Recreational oyster catchers must report their catch and purchase a recreational harvest tag at the OMS station. Recreational harvesters may take up to 100 legal-size (minimum 3 inches) oysters in the same areas and during the same times as commercial harvest. No license is required but commercial and recreational oysters may not be transported together on a vessel.
All commercial oyster catchers, regardless of age, must have a commercial oyster catcher’s license in order to participate in the harvest. For information about licensing and regulations, call 251-861-2882 or visit the MRD office at 2 North Iberville Drive on Dauphin Island.
Date/Time of Grids Opening: Monday through Friday, beginning Oct. 2, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oyster Harvest Limits: Commercial oyster catchers may harvest six sacks per person/vessel, per day regardless of how many licensed harvesters are aboard. Recreational oyster catchers may harvest 100 legal-size oysters per person, per day. Recreational harvest may only occur in areas and at times that are open for commercial harvest.
Harvest Method: Tong and Hand Only
Management Station Location: Cedar Point Cutoff, across from Jemison’s Bait and Tackle, and Delta Port Marina (see addresses listed above).
Management Station Hours: Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Management Station Contact: 251-257-9966
Although there are several species of oysters found in Alabama’s waters, only the Eastern oyster is commercially important to the state.
Last month, the state led a 77-acre wide oyster repopulation program off the coast of Dauphin Island.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.