All oyster harvest zones to close January 21, 2022

Photo by David Rainer, ADCNR

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Pursuant to Section 9-12-28, Code of Alabama 1975 as stated by Rule 220-3-.02, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces that all public water bottoms will close to the harvest of oysters at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Summary of Alabama’s oyster harvest
Alabama’s public oyster reefs opened for harvest on October 4, 2021, and will close for the season on Friday, January 21, 2022, at the end of the harvest day. The cooperation between MRD, the Alabama Department of Public Health and commercial oyster catchers and seafood dealers led to a successful harvest this season.

Management zones were opened to harvest for 80 days. During that time, nearly 50,000 sacks of oysters were harvested totaling almost 4.25 million pounds.

“The 2021-2022 harvest season was more productive than we anticipated,” said Scott Bannon, MRD director. “We doubled the previous year’s harvest for the third year in a row, which contributed greatly to the community. Unfortunately, Mississippi was not able to open for harvest this year. Many of the harvesters who work in Mississippi were able to work in Alabama for several months. We had as many as 189 catchers on the reef in a single day, harvesting over 1,000 sacks per day. Utilizing our harvest grid system, we were able to monitor small areas and close them appropriately for sustainability while keeping harvesters working more days. The harvesters’ accurate reporting was a vital part of the season length. I appreciate their efforts as well as the efforts of our staff to effectively monitor and manage the season.”

During the 2021-2022 season, MRD utilized a grid system for identifying areas open for harvest and ensuring maximum opportunities for harvesters while minimizing the potential for overharvesting. They will continue to work toward restoring and maintaining Alabama’s oyster reefs to ensure oysters can be enjoyed for generations to come.