Update to Commercial Oyster Fishing Regulations
NOTICE: This page reflects changes that were approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on August 25, 2011 and are effective November 1, 2011. Original text is on page 38 of the Commercial Fishing Guide (PDF 1.6 MB). Changes are underlined.
Commercial Oystering Season – Nov. 1 through Apr. 30 except in all private leases with permits from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where there is no closed season. During the open season, oysters may be taken only from sunrise to 3:30 pm.
Commercial Oyster Limits – No oyster boat may take more than 50 sacks of oysters per boat per day, and may possess no more than six sacks (equivalent of two barrels) of unculled oysters. A sack is defined as 110 pounds of oysters (including the sack). A Harvester/Shell Recovery Tag must be affixed to the outside of each sack upon filling and prior to returning to the dock. Each tag must be legible and completely filled out. Tags are available for purchase, at a cost of $0.20 apiece, at TPWD Law Enforcement Offices and TPWD Headquarters in Austin.
Legal Size Limits – Three (3) inches (greatest length of shell) or larger. Oysters ¾ inch to 3 inches are to be culled and returned to reef from which taken; provided, however, that each cargo may contain not more than 15 percent of oysters of this size. Not more than six sacks of unculled oysters are permitted on board while on a reef.
Legal Means and Methods – It is unlawful while taking or attempting to take oysters for pay or the purpose of sale, barter or exchange or any other commercial purpose to use more than one dredge, use a dredge which exceeds 48 inches in width and a two-barrel capacity, have more than one dredge connected in any manner to a winch, chain or other lifting device during the open public season; or have any additional dredge(s) on board unless secured below deck, to the wheelhouse or to the deck in such a manner as to be lashed, tied, shackled or chained as to prevent its immediate use. Commercial oyster boats limited to not more than 50 sacks of legal size oysters.
- Oysters may be taken only from waters approved by the State Commissioner of Health.
- New Law: The penalty for a commercial oyster boat taking oysters in a closed area has increased to a Parks and Wildlife Class “A” Misdemeanor (see criminal penalties section of Commercial Fishing Guide) and everyone on the vessel will be in violation.
- The harvesting, shucking, processing and sale of oysters must conform to all regulations specified by the Texas Department of State Health Services.