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DMR: Oystermen should expect limited season

GULF OF MEXICO — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has scheduled the 2011-2012 limited Mississippi oyster season to open to tonging only at legal sunrise Oct. 24, only in Areas II “A,” “B” and “C” Conditionally Approved waters, provided the area meets all criteria for opening as specified in the area management plan.

Area II “A” Conditionally Approved Waters includes northern portions of the Pass Christian and Henderson Point reefs and Hornet’s Reef. Area II “B” Conditionally Approved Waters includes St. Stanislaus and Waveland reefs. Area II “C” Conditionally Approved Waters encompasses subdivisions of II “E” (including Square Handkerchief Reef and southern portions of Henderson Point Reef), II “F” (including southern portions of the Pass Christian Reef) and II “G” (including northern portions of the Pass Marianne and Telegraph reefs).

The MDMR is advising oyster harvesters that the areas being opened experienced significant losses this spring and summer. Harvesters should expect a limited season, with lower than average catch rates. The areas will be monitored closely by the MDMR.

The 2011 oyster relay plant sites located within these areas will remain closed to the harvest of oysters. These sites may be opened to harvest at a later date after sampling by the MDMR indicates harvest would be appropriate.

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