• 63°

Special Miss. oyster season opens March 5

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has approved a special oyster season in eastern Jackson County beginning March 5.

DMR oyster biologist Bradley Randall said Tuesday that the month-and-a-half-long season should open after a sanitary survey of the oysters is complete.

Randall said the season would be open only to tonging oysters and they will have a 10-sack limit.

All other Mississippi oyster reefs remain closed.

Last fall, the federal government provided $15 million to help rehabilitate Mississippi’s oyster habitats destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Oysters are the second most valuable seafood in the Gulf of Mexico after shrimp.

Mississippi had 17 natural oyster reefs. Almost all the commercially harvested oysters came from the western Mississippi Sound. Ninety percent of the oysters on those reefs were killed by Katrina, according to biologists.

Louisiana also is in the process of restoration of its oyster reefs.