In the face of a hard season, oystermen organize union
By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:08 p.m.
Oystermen aren't known for working together, but in the face of one of the toughest seasons they have seen in years, they are uniting to form a union.
A group of them are banding together to form the Union of Commercial Oystermen of Texas.
Oyster season was due to start in November, but it has been delayed for the past three months as Texas Department of State Health Services officials wait for toxic red tide algae to clear from the waters.
It has been a difficult time for the men and women who work in the Texas fishing industry as they have been forced to bide their time waiting for the harvesting season to open. The delay in the start of the season is yet another blow to an industry that is still struggling to recover from the stigma the BP oil spill attached to Gulf Coast oysters.
The union, formed in December, was created to give people in the industry a more effective way of addressing their concerns for the industry, Union secretary Christi Campos said.
"The oystermen feel like they don't have a voice," Campos said. "They've been waiting three months to get out there to make some money, and they've been struggling to put food on the table. They're just trying to make a living."
The third meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Calhoun County Texas Agrilife Extension Office, 186 County Road 101, Port Lavaca.