Oyster Regulations

  • Oysters may be taken for personal use (food) with a recreational license but may not be sold.
  • A person taking oysters is required to have a valid fishing license and a saltwater endorsement.
  • A vessel used while engaged in fishing with tongs or a dredge requires the purchase of an additional Sport Oyster Boat commercial fishing license.
  • Oysters may be taken only from waters approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services Seafood and Aquatic Life Group. For more information call (800) 685-0361 or check the TDSHS website.
  • Oysters may not be taken from marked private leases except by permission of the lessee.


  • Monday–Friday from November 1 through April 30, sunrise to 3:30 p.m., coastwide.


  • Oysters may be taken by hand, with tongs or by oyster dredge.
  • Oyster dredges may not be more than 14 inches in width.

Length and Possession Limits

  • Oysters must be 3 inches or larger as measured by the greatest length of the shell.
  • Oysters 3/4 inch to 3 inches and dead oyster shell > 3/4 inch (measured along any axis) must be culled and returned to the reef from which taken.
  • Oysters 3/4 inch to 3 inches and dead oyster shell > 3/4 inch may not make up more than 5% by number of oysters in possession.
  • No more than 2 sacks of legal oysters may be possessed per person. A sack is defined as 110 pounds of oysters including dead oyster shell and the sack.

Closed Areas

The following minor bays are CLOSED to oyster harvest

  • Christmas Bay, Brazoria County
  • Carancahua Bay, Calhoun and Matagorda counties
  • Powderhorn Lake, Calhoun County
  • Hynes Bay, Refugio County
  • St, Charles Bay, Aransas County
  • South Bay, Cameron County
  • Areas along all shorelines with state health department approved or conditionally approved areas for shellfish harvest extending 300 feet from the water’s edge or exposed oysters inside of the 300-foot area.

More information about oysters