Oystering, The Grind - Texas Parks & Wildlife Department [Official] - Lake Harding Association

Oystering, The Grind – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department [Official]

Oystering, The Grind – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department [Official]

By Micah Moen 6 Comments March 20, 2020

[seagulls squawk]– NARRATOR: Oyster season
is underway in Lavaca Bay.
my home port right here, Port Lavaca, Texas. [dredge clanks] It’s been a pretty good
spot over the years. But it’s a grind. [chain grinding] This is what I do
for a long time. That was 30 years yesterday. That’s what I’ve been
fishing over here this bay. We got so much salt
in our blood, that’s what I love to do. If you love what you do,
I mean, you are going to stay
for a long time like me. Thirty years. [clanking] They culling the oysters. What they are doing
right now is, they are making sure that
they got three-inch oysters. The state law says that they
have to be three inches. Plus, you see it’s a cluster
is what they come up, they don’t come pretty like when
you put them on your table.– NARRATOR: Historically, Texas
has been one of the top states
in oyster production,dating as far back to the
late 1800s.
Texas reefs held what seemed
like an endless supply.
But times have changed.[chain grinds]Over the years the daily
sack limits have been cut back.
– MAURICIO: It used
to be 150 sack a day.– NARRATOR: Now Mauricio
can keep a fifth of that.
– MAURICIO: Now it’s went down
from 150 sacks to 90 sacks, and then from 90 sacks,
they went down to 50 sacks, this year the state limit
is 30 sacks. So, every year we getting less,
and less, and less. And the bad part is that fuel, it don’t go down,
it goes up and up. [dredge slams] But like right now, we
probably going to make 20 sacks all day long. Maybe. – Recent science has indicated
that really most oyster reefs are operating right on the
border of sustainability. Everybody realizes that
something needs to be done.– NARRATOR: This part of
Galveston Bay is getting
some much-needed TLC, in the
form of a new reef bottom.
– BILL: The key to restoring
the habitat is putting fresh cultch out there. Cultch can be any materials
that oysters can grow on.– NARRATOR: This reef’s
getting 7,000 tons
of crushed limestone.– Looks good, it’s really
amazing how your able to operate this giant piece
of machinery on a barge. This is really important
because the oyster reefs are in pretty bad shape. They’ve been suffering from
a number of stressors, including drought
and hurricanes. On top of that, there is a lot
of heavy fishing pressure being put on. Pretty sad state of affairs for
the oyster reefs currently. So, these materials
provide a nice clean, what we call a substrate for
oyster larva to attach to and grow into spat
which are baby oysters. The site will be closed
to commercial harvest for two years, allowing
the baby oysters time to grow to adulthood. By the fall there
should be millions of baby oysters growing on
this rock out here.– NARRATOR: Galveston Bay
is not alone.
Many Texas bays are
temporarily closed
to oystering as the
reefs recover.
[police siren chirps] – GAME WARDEN: You the
captain today.– NARRATOR: To protect the
bays as they rest,
Game Wardens are on the water.This area is open to oystering,but nearby San Antonio Bay
is closed and off limits.
– Today what we did, we tried a different technique
that we hadn’t tried yet. We actually stuck a boat
in the water that was an undercover vessel. And he actually drove out
into San Antonio Bay, hid up in the brush
for a little bit. – T X four zero five one. – JASON: And he drove down
that line and basically wrote down the TX numbers of
every boat that was located in the San Antonio Bay
system side. – They were too close to land
and they were in closed waters, and they don’t have any tags. [siren chirps] – GAME WARDEN:
State Game Warden. Y’all were in closed waters
this morning! – Me?
– Yes. – No!
– Yes. – JASON: It’s not all the
oyster industry that’s actually doing this,
there’s a few bad apples. – GAME WARDEN: He observed
you in close waters. – No! – GAME WARDEN: Yes, you’re
going to have to dump the oysters too! – JASON: If we let them do
what they want, then they would take too much of the
resource and there wouldn’t be any more of the resource left. – GAME WARDEN: Ok, one ticket
for oystering in closed waters, ok,
contact Judge Hunt. – GAME WARDEN: You have your
license on you. – JASON: If they overharvest
an area, it does them no good the next year
and the year after that, and the year after that. Short term gain, long term loss
is what we’re looking at! – It’s going to be nothing. How the bays going
to come back? If you kill the chicken, you
ain’t going to have eggs. We need those oysters in
restricted areas for them to spawn and get
oyster everywhere. It’s the bottom line. You kill the chicken, you
ain’t going to get no eggs.– NARRATOR: To protect
the reefs,
at times there’s more bays
closed to oystering,
than those that are open.Which adds to the grind.– MAURICIO: You know, you
leave one small area open, everybody gonna put
pressure on the area, because it’s the
only thing is open. And that’s what
happened right now. [tapping] When you overfish
you’re resources, they just gonna disappear. A lot of small ones. This oyster be ready
within four weeks, they gonna reach three inches, they have to go
back to the water. This bay, for right now, should
been closed for two months. They keep it wide open, and there’s nothing
out there anymore. You know by the time
they close it, it’s going to be too late.– NARRATOR: It’s hopefully
not too late.
A historic restoration
plan is in place.
All bays in Texas will now
get some much-needed help.
As a new law requires oyster
dealers to either pay a
per sack restoration feeor recycle their old shell.Supplier, Curtis Miller, opts
to use his own shell.
– I felt that would be the
quickest way to, you know, see some results. This was a way to see
the quickest turnaround right here at home.– NARRATOR: This reef recovery
plan now guarantees
new cultch will be placed
in depleted Texas bays.
This shell is on its
way back to Lavaca Bay.
– CURTIS: We’re going to put
it out there in this area, it’s not really a viable
working area now, but we’re hoping since
it’s a hard bottom, the shell will create a new
reef that we can work in a couple years. [water spraying] – This is going to happen
all up and down the coast in every major
oyster producing bay. This is just the very beginning
of something that will be an ongoing effort and should make
a really big difference in the ecology of the bays. – If everybody up and down the
coast starts doing this, which I believe you’re
going to start seeing, that’ll make more reefs
in Galveston Bay, more reefs in Matagorda area, more reefs in Rockport area, more reefs in our area, and the boats will be able
to stay home. – MAURICIO: We need to
change the habit. We have to change
the way we think, for those bays to give them
a chance to come back, we have to do all those
things you know. For resources to be there, just, you got to take
responsibility that’s all.– NARRATOR: And for Maurcio,
a restored Lavaca Bay
can’t come soon enough.His haul today barely covered
the costs for his crew.
– MAURICIO: Well, we managed
to make a day. At least we’re here. You know, nobody got hurt. [oysters dumped in sack] We were shooting for 20, as you can see we
didn’t have 20. We had 17, but the boat
didn’t break. We happy. We ready to go home now!– NARRATOR: But you can bet
he’ll be back here tomorrow.
– I enjoy it. Every single day
that I’m out there, I’m enjoy it. I’m happy. And that’s the spirit
of the fisherman, it don’t matter how
broke you are, if you love what you are doing,
you going to keep doing it, and that’s me!– NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant
from the Sport Fish
Restoration Program.

6 Comments found


Tina Gallagher

Looks labor intensive


Brad D

Why dont you hire white people racist!


Esther Star Rose

Interesting, keep the bays continually productive.


leo ybarra

good job wardens keep everyone in line good job on this video keep them coming


M e

STOP boats from going bay to bay. you dredge within 25 miles of your home port. you don't come from galveston bay down to aransas bay or matagorda bay etc, right now the big oyster companies from galveston go from bay to bay. scraping everything. then the go back to harvest their PRIVATE leases. STOP boats from coming in from other states. texas residents ONLY.


Jovanne Han

I just applied to help in Oyster genetics to help improve yields. I would be excited to help. 😊


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