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DMR to cut oyster-harvesting licenses

BILOXI — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is developing a plan to limit the sale of oyster licenses for the 2009-2010 oyster season. The plan is a result of a motion passed at this month’s Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources (CMR) meeting.

The CMR motion states: “If it is determined that there is an unusual increase in the oyster license sales, and it is determined that it is necessary to conserve the fishery resource, the executive director is authorized to suspend the issuance of oyster licenses through the end of the 2009-2010 oyster season. Furthermore, if such action is taken by the executive director, a report shall be presented to the commission at the following meeting, at which time the commission may take such action as deemed necessary.”

The plan will limit the number of commercial oyster licenses available for sale in each of the four major categories — resident dredging, resident tonging, out-of-state dredging and out-of-state tonging. The license sales limits established, based on past license sales by category, had not been met as of Sept. 24.

Oyster harvesters that have not already done so are encouraged to purchase a current license to ensure their continued ability to participate in this year’s oyster season.

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