BILOXI, Miss. – Officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced Monday that the agency will begin Phase I of an emergency oyster resource recovery program in response to the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Jan. 10.
MDMR will hold informational meetings at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in the auditorium of the Bolton Building. Eligible participants also will be able to sign up for the program at the meetings.
Those who qualify include Mississippi commercial fishermen who had a license in 2011 and commercially harvested oysters in one or multiple years prior to 2011.
The MDMR will pay the fishermen using disaster funds received in 2014 as a result of the damages from the 2011 opening of the Bonnet Carre.
“At this time, we don’t know how long the Spillway will remain open or how much fresh water could flow into the Mississippi Sound,” said Jamie M. Miller, executive director of the MDMR. “But we want to be proactive in response to the potential effect on our oyster reefs.
“We are initiating this emergency program to relocate live oysters to areas that will benefit our oyster resource.”
Phase I will include taking oysters from the western part of the Mississippi Sound and moving them to eastern sections of the Sound and the Biloxi Back Bay.