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CMR approves tonging for reefs

During Tuesday’s Commission of Marine Resources (CMR) monthly meeting, officials gave an update on the Bonnet Carre Spillway plan and the progress of the Oyster & Crab Restoration plan.

The two plans were created in 2011 to aid in recovery amid Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

After five projects for both plans were discussed, Department of Marine Resource Shellfish Bureau Director Erik Broussard recommended tongs rather than dredges be used for oystering mainly due to shallow reefs. The Pass Christian Harbor was demonstrated in this plan and is was said to have a better economic and environmental impact.

Thao Vu, Executive Director of the Mississippi Coalition of Vietnamese-American Family Folks (MSCVAFF), said oysters are “a keystone species that are iconic.” Following Vu’s thanks conveyed to Broussard’s presentation, she claimed most tongers in the state of Mississippi are “not local” and “there is no way we can reach the Governor’s Council of Oysters plan of pulling in 1 million sacks.”

Additionally, MSCVAFF is in a legal suit against DMR for their prohibition of basket dredging for oysters in September 2017.

Several individuals from the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) approaches the board during a public forum and questioned the oyster reefs and how they were being managed. Many urged the com-mission to read a few articles published in reference to an environmental standpoint.

DMR Attorney Joe Jewell said the agency’s need for an approval of the motion for tongs instead of dredging was in order to move forward with the plan. The acceptance of tongs was approved unanimously, but Commissioner Richard Gollott said he would like to see quotes for each project. A few state regulation changes were made based on the size and limits to king mackerel and gray triggerfish.


Story by Hunter Dawkins

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