Oyster Task meets to discuss dying oysters

Oyster Task meets to discuss dying oysters
Oysters harvested after the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening have produced mixed results. (GRAY TV)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Oyster Task Force is meeting Tuesday to discuss the impacts of reductions in salinity on the oyster industry since the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

This meeting in the Belle Chasse auditorium comes after some commercial fisherman said more oysters are dying. Some said they noticed the problem before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the spillway.

For more than an hour the fishermen discussed the state’s oyster genetics with biologists from LSU who are studying the profiles of the oysters and how it is changing.

Every member of the task force and some of the fishermen in the room all said for years they have adapted to the changing conditions of the industry.

They felt that change harder this year because of the two record openings of the spillway. One thing most people in the room agreed on is the low salinity in the water that is directly affecting their livelihoods.

“This is a real live economic impact study on our fisheries. We don’t have to depend on scientist with modeling anymore,” Oyster Task Force member Mitch Jurisic said. “You want the model, it’s happening before our eyes. This is the true fact of what freshwater will do to a fishery, especially uncontrolled unregulated or running so many times out the year.”

The task force is expected to discuss the governor’s federal disaster request and a possible amendment later on in the day.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.