TPWD Sets Public Meetings to Gather Input on Oyster Reef Closures

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AUSTIN- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking public input on proposed regulation changes to prohibit the harvest of oysters permanently and temporarily within certain reef areas. These proposals include the permanent prohibition of oyster harvest in Carlos Bay, Mesquite Bay and Ayres Bay (Mesquite Bay complex) and the temporary prohibition of oyster harvest between one and two years for new reefs recently constructed in TX-24 in San Antonio Bay, TX-6 in Galveston Bay and TX-4 in Galveston Bay.

The permanent closure in the Mesquite Bay complex would protect ecologically important and sensitive oyster habitat that provides shoreline protection and acts as a nursery habitat for fish. A two-year temporary closure for Josephine’s Reef within TX-24 in San Antonio Bay and Dollar Reef within TX-6 in Galveston Bay is also being proposed for restoration purposes along with a one-year temporary closure for three reefs in TX-4 in Galveston Bay (Trinity Sanctuary Reef, Trinity Harvestable Reef 1, and Trinity Harvestable Reef 2). The temporary closure allows for restored reefs to recruit several generations of oysters until the reef is healthy enough to be harvested.

The public is encouraged to provide comment on these proposed regulation changes. Opportunities to provide comments for or against these closures include:

  • Public hearings: TPWD Coastal Fisheries staff will be hosting several public hearings on the coast to receive input from stakeholders concerning the proposed regulation changes.
    • Thursday October 20 from 6:00 — 8:00 p.m. College of the Mainland, Teacher’s Auditorium, Learning Resources Building (Bldg L131), 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, Texas 77591
    • Thursday, October 20 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Aransas Pass Civic Center, 700 W. Wheeler Avenue, Aransas Pass, TX 78336
    • Thursday October 20 from 6: 00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Bauer Exhibit Building at 305 Henry Barber Way, Port Lavaca, TX 77979
  • Online: Official public comments can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until 5 p.m. on Nov 4.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to consider these proposed regulation changes during the November 2022 Commission meeting.