Oyster Restoration, Part 1

This is Passport to Texas

On a recent day in East Galveston Bay, there are twelve boats driving back and forth in an area that is about the size of 70 football fields. Most of the boats are oyster and shrimping boats.

But Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Jennie Rohrer (Roar) says they aren’t fishing today. They’re helping restore oyster reefs that were destroyed by Hurricane Ike two years ago.

These boats are pulling what we are calling bagless dredges over an existing oyster reef that was covered up from sediment from Hurricane Ike. So instead of actually pulling up the oysters from the bottom, they’re just bringing the shells from underneath the sediment up on to the top of the existing sediment.

Oyster larvae need to attach to a hard surface in order to grow. So biologists hope that by exposing the shells, oysters will attach to them and slowly reestablish the reefs.

And Rohrer says oysters are a crucial part of this community’s livelihood.

Galveston Bay is very important in oyster harvest. And so a lot of money, a lot of effort, and a lot of people are hired through the commercial fishing industry.

East Galveston Bay is currently closed to commercial fishing to let the oysters grow and reproduce. But if all goes well, in two years, the oysters here should be ready for the catch.

That’s our show… we had research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan…the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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