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Areas Open and Close for Oyster Dredging for Special Management Season Harvest

BILOXI, Miss. – A special management season for oyster harvest will allow dredging on underutilized reefs designated as tonging areas. The following areas will open beginning at legal sunrise Dec. 10, 2012, through 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, provided that these areas meet all opening criteria provided for in their respective management plans.

• Area II "A" Conditionally Approved Waters, west of Longitude 89° 15.222' W. (west of Pass Christian West Light 1) - which includes northern portions of Henderson Point Reef and portions of Hornet's Reef.

• Area II "B" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes St. Stanislaus and Waveland reefs.

• Area II "D" Conditionally Approved Waters, which includes several oyster reefs located between the CSX and U.S. Highway 90 bridges crossing the mouth of St. Louis Bay. (NOTE: Due to user conflicts with numerous pipeline and cable crossings located within this area, this area will remain closed to harvest until the utility and cable companies are able to properly mark these crossings so they may be avoided by harvesters.)

Additionally, beginning Dec. 10, 2012, the Conditionally Approved Area II "F" east of Longitude 89° 15.222' W, which includes portions of the Pass Christian Reef will be closed to dredging but remain open for tonging. Also, beginning Dec. 10, 2012, the following Approved or Conditionally Approved Areas II "G", II "H" and II "I", which includes Pass Marianne, Telegraph, Buoy, Pelican and Umbrella reefs; First and Fletchers keys and southern portions of the Pass Christian Reef will be closed to the harvest of oysters.

The special management season for oyster harvest, as well as the limited season for dredging, will close at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.

The limited oyster season for tonging will remain open to harvest as previously scheduled, provided that those areas meet all opening criteria provided for in their respective management plans.

The Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources also authorized the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to close the special management season for oyster harvest for biological reasons or if user conflicts occur.

For more information on open and closed areas, call the MDMR's 24-hour Oyster Information Hot Line at 228-374-5167 or 800-385-5902. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the MDMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov.

Contact: Shelly Becker
Phone: (228) 523.4051

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