National

Up to 90% of oysters dead in Mississippi reef sample

PASS CHRISTIAN — Officials from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources took oyster fishermen out on the reefs off the Pass Christian Harbor on Wednesday to give them a preview of what to expect from the upcoming oyster season.

Catches resulting in an abundance of empty oyster shells led some fishermen to doubt the viability of the season, which typically begins in September or October.

"We've lost this season," oyster dredger Loe Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he's also a shrimper, but that shrimping season hasn't been good, either, since the oil spill.

He said he had a negative feeling about the upcoming oyster season when DMR officials dredged for oysters and pulled up catches with about 80 to 90 percent of the oysters dead.

"It's bad news for the oyster fishermen,” Nguyen said.

Scott Gordon, director of the DMR shellfish bureau, said there have been more oyster mortalities this year, but he doesn’t know whether it can be attributed to the BP oil spill.

“We don’t have any evidence that oil has contributed to these mortalities,” he said.

Still, the abundance of hollowed shells from Wednesday’s dredge concerned him.

Read the complete story at sunherald.com

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