Pursuant to Section 9-12-28, Code of Alabama 1975 as stated by Rule 220-3-.02, the Marine Resources Division (MRD) of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announces that all public water bottoms will close to the harvest of oysters at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 23, 2022.
Summary of Alabama's Oyster Harvest
Alabama’s public oyster reefs opened for harvest on October 3, 2022, and will close for the season at the end of the harvest day on Friday, December 23, 2022. The cooperation between MRD, the Alabama Department of Public Health, commercial oyster catchers, and seafood dealers continues to move the oyster resources in Alabama in a positive direction.
Management zones were opened to harvest for 61 days. During that time, nearly 44,000 sacks of oysters were harvested totaling almost 3.7 million pounds with an approximate dockside value of more than $3 million.
“This season has been very successful and built on the successes of the previous three years,” said Scott Bannon, MRD Director. “There was a notable increase in the number of catchers working on the public reefs this season. We anticipated the number of sacks harvested to be nearly equivalent to last season. That is what we have seen this year, but with a lot more people reaping the benefits. Last season the average number of catchers per day was around 120. This season it was 164 with as many as 243 catchers reporting their harvests on a single day. That is the highest level of participation I have seen in my 25 years with the Division. Many days the harvest exceeded 1,200 sacks per day with the highest amount being 1,353 sacks – that’s nearly 115,000 pounds of oysters.
“Utilizing our harvest grid system, we were able to monitor small areas and appropriately close them for sustainability, while keeping harvesters working more days in other locations. Accurate harvest reporting was a vital part of the season’s length. I appreciate the reporting efforts of the harvesters and the efforts of our staff to effectively monitor and manage the season. The dockside price paid per pound of oysters remained relatively high, which means money in the pockets of harvesters. That is good for the families and economy of south Mobile County.”
MRD continues to utilize several new survey techniques to assist with developing pre-season harvest estimates and work toward restoring and maintaining Alabama’s oyster reefs so that oysters can be enjoyed for generations to come.
ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Learn more at outdooralabama.com.