State reopens Gulf bays for oyster harvesting

April 28, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated April 27, 2014 at 11:28 p.m.

Texas bays reopened to oyster harvesting only days before the season ends.

The Department of State Health Services closed bays from Matagorda to Corpus Christi to oystering a month ago because of an algae that can cause shellfish poisoning to people who eat affected shellfish. The state reopened the bays Friday, six days before the season ends.

East Matagorda Bay remains closed, the state reported.

Many of the deckhands from Mexico, who hold work visas during oystering season, returned home thinking the bays wouldn't reopen, said Erasmo Montemayor, an oyster boat owner from Port Lavaca.

"I lost Friday and Saturday because I didn't have any deckhands," Montemayor said.

On Sunday, oyster boats went out in winds that would typically keep them at the dock.

"We were so desperate; we went out there and put a beating on the boat. Some just got one sack and turned back around. They all came back. They couldn't handle it all day long," Montemayor said.

Despite the slow start, Montemayor was happy for the chance to work again. The price for oysters, which was $32 per sack before the closure, has increased by $3, he said.

"We were just so glad they opened it. We got a little money, and we're going to eat some oysters," he said.



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