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  #1  
Old 12-16-2009, 11:17 AM
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Default Oyster Harvesting

I don’t know much about Oyster fishing or Harvesting but I see these Oyster boats wrecking havoc on our oyster reefs on the lake? How does this affect the reefs? Does this whip the reef out? Do they just take the Oysters or and leave the rock? How does this process work because I’m not familiar with the harvesting of Oysters..... and the effects on the reefs
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:39 AM
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its not good for them thats for sure.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:40 AM
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yeah I've seen them ripping those big reefs by the ship channel, by the old jetties, but we sure love raw oysters, oyster poboys, fried oysters etc.

Demand will keep this going...
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:16 PM
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I am no expert nor am I familiar with the area, but those are likely oyster seed grounds established by LDWF. The dredges are collecting "seed" oysters to transplant elsewhere, but the reef remains intact. The reef is simply a hard substrate usually limestone that is technically referred to as cultch and required for the oyster to establish "footing."

Simply stated an oyster reef will not simply form on otherwise soft bottom, there needs to be a hard substance for the oyster to hold on to and grow.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacon View Post
I am no expert nor am I familiar with the area, but those are likely oyster seed grounds established by LDWF. The dredges are collecting "seed" oysters to transplant elsewhere, but the reef remains intact. The reef is simply a hard substrate usually limestone that is technically referred to as cultch and required for the oyster to establish "footing."

Simply stated an oyster reef will not simply form on otherwise soft bottom, there needs to be a hard substance for the oyster to hold on to and grow.

are you an oyster-ologist ? cause that sounded damn good !!!!
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2009, 12:33 PM
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Probably stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night....
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:53 PM
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No one seeds oysters in Big Lake. It is all natural reefs. Public oystering. Anyone with a license can oyster. For years it was manual tongs only in Big Lake. A few years ago, the state allowed dredges. But the limit is 15 sacks per day per boat. The dredges are letting them get their limits faster, but tear up more reef faster. Manual tonging didn't tear up near as much. Dredging was stopped a long time ago due to wiping out oysters, it will happen again pretty soon.
Oyster fishermen usually find the reef by dragging a metal ring with 7 or 8 pieces of 1 ft. chain on it. The ring is tied off to the bow of the boat and drug under the boat, about half way. When they hit a reef, they will drive a pvc pipe in the ground and drop the dredge. When the noise stops, they turn around and head back. I don't see many PVC pipes anymore. They probably use GPS now and mark the edges of the reefs.
They do have a minimum size they can keep, so anything undersized, they have to throw back. This is all the seeding that gets done in Big Lake, undersized oysters.
At one time, there were only a few oyster fishermen cause it was so hard work. Now, when Pogy season ends, a few of the East Coast oyster fishermen stay and oyster cause it got easier, and they shut down oystering in the Chesapeke Bay(they dredge over there too). So we have a lot more boats hitting the reefs.
Bad thing is, we have a lot of clam reefs too. Or clams mixed in with the oysters. If they hear their chains drag across some shells, they will drop the dredges. They won't know that it is clams or oysters until the dredge is full. So, our clam reefs are getting tore up too.
Big Lake is too small of an area for dredges. Everyone knows it, but it won't change until the oysters are wiped out again. We have no public or private seed grounds. Our reefs are all natural. It will take years to get them back after they get drug over by 30 or 40 dredges a day.
If you haven't seen them out lately, go to the steam engine or 9 mile cut on cold days, they are all on the same reef. When tongs only were allowed, oyster fishermen were all over their secret spots, not wiping out the same reefs at the same time.
Just like the quote, you won't wipe out the fish with rod and reel, you won't wipe out the oysters with tongs. It is too hard work for 15 sacks a day at $20/sack. Only the hard core fishermen who grew up doing this kind of work will keep going with tongs.
I oyster fished for about 10 years between the ages of 15 and 25 for extra money. I did the tonging and got 1/3 the money, the boat got 1/3 and the boat owner who culled got 1/3, at $15/sack back then. It was hard work, but it was cash.
I hate to say it cause I have a lot of friends who are commercial fishermen, but if you allow some of them to fish out their living, they will, then they will gripe cause there are no oysters left.
Some didn't want the dredges cause they know oysters will get wiped out one day. But if they tong, it won't be fair cause all the others are working less and making mor
Damaging the oyster reefs with dredges give less protection for shrimp and small fish. They have no place to hide from big predators like Reds and Specks.

The above is just my opinion based on what I know about oystering and what I have heard from oyster fishermen(some concerned, some don't give a crap).

Last edited by Ray; 12-16-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2009, 01:10 PM
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ray, how's the lake water ? we still going friday ?
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:22 PM
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We can. It looks terrible in Prien right now.
If'n we don't catch, we can hit your secret
spot at the weirs or the jetties and catch
some Reds.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:35 PM
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10-4 good buddy.... i got a new secret spot.... cant let u know where it is, but i can draw you a map !!!!
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2009, 05:12 PM
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great overview Ray! I've heard this an even bigger problem on the East side of the state around Grand Isle.
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  #12  
Old 12-16-2009, 06:02 PM
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I remember when I was a young-un we would go out when a low tide with hard north wind cold front would hit. We would pull the boat on the reefs and pick them up by hand. At lunch time, dad would shuck some of em and we would have Shasta colas with them on crackers and hot sauce...... one of those father and sons moments.
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  #13  
Old 12-16-2009, 06:09 PM
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nothing goes on in the coastal zone without a full environmental assessment being done.
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2009, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QUACKHEAD View Post
I remember when I was a young-un we would go out when a low tide with hard north wind cold front would hit. We would pull the boat on the reefs and pick them up by hand. At lunch time, dad would shuck some of em and we would have Shasta colas with them on crackers and hot sauce...... one of those father and sons moments.
My dad and I got sick doing this one time. Just raw, no hot sauce. Went to the hospital in the middle of the night.
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2009, 09:51 PM
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Just got some more information from an oyster fisherman.
The dredge drags across the reefs plucking the oysters off the reef and trapping in
a metal mesh net, leaving the base oyster bed unharmed.
Some of the oyster fishermen have started installing a V shaped gadget that looks
and acts kind of like a planer for offshore fishing. It digs the dredge down into the
base of the reef, pulling up more oysters and the base material. It is all legal.
But they do throw back the base material and small oysters/clams. But it is cracking
up the base of the oyster reefs.
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  #16  
Old 12-17-2009, 11:51 AM
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wow Ray...thanks for the info!
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The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a “high capacity” semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families .
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  #17  
Old 12-18-2009, 04:51 PM
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Guys, I don't know everything and I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn last night - BUT

Believe it or not, we had this debate/fight recently in Vermillion Bay. For those of you who don't know Lara Ballard, formely w/ CCA, and now employed w/ LDWF, she addressed this pretty good in the past - w/ SCIENTIFIC DATA!!!!

I don't remeber all the details, but the low down was it was beneficial to have oysters harvested as is made the reef better. I will try to find the presentation and forward it.
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2009, 05:31 PM
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I heard from an oyster fisherman that they are catching some Flounder in the dredges
at 9-mile and the steam engine.
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  #19  
Old 12-19-2009, 07:01 AM
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I can tell you one thing, you can learn alot about where reefs are from watching them oyster and they do make some good holes when they sit there and cull threw them. If they do it in one spot long enuff it kinda makes a hump in the reef and basically makes a little sweet spot on the reef sometimes.
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