Oyster aquaculture focus of March 30 program at South Padre Shell Club

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Oyster aquaculture could offer enhanced oyster production as well as provide environmental benefits, but there has been some public concern over its implementation on the Texas Gulf Coast, according to a Texas Sea Grant and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

The potential for oyster aquaculture on the Texas Gulf Coast will be discussed at a March 30 program on South Padre Island. (Texas Sea Grant photo)

The pros and cons of oyster aquaculture will be addressed at a program sponsored by the Port Isabel/ South Padre Island Shell Club at 10 a.m. March 30 at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Coastal Studies Laboratory, 100 Marine Lab Drive, South Padre Island. It will also be broadcast live online at https://utrgv.zoom.us/j/160677994.

The program will feature Dr. John Scarpa, associate professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Texas Sea Grant-funded researcher, who will look at potential solutions to oyster aquaculture concerns. His talk will be followed by a public discussion of oyster aquaculture.

For more than 30 years, Scarpa has been involved in aquaculture research, teaching and training, which has included supporting the $15 million hard-shell clam culture industry in Florida during his 20-plus years at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. He is president-elect of the National Shellfisheries Association and is leading efforts to establish oyster aquaculture in Texas.

“Oyster aquaculture produces the vast majority of oysters consumed by humans worldwide, but Texas is the only state on the Gulf Coast with no regulatory policy for commercial oyster aquaculture,” said Tony Reisinger, Texas Sea Grant/AgriLife Extension coastal and marine resources agent for Cameron County.

Oysters serve as a natural “filtering mechanism” for water, and oyster structures attract fish. (Texas Sea Grant photo)

He said a few of the concerns with bringing oyster aquaculture to the Texas coastal region are potential interference with boating traffic and the aesthetics of having oyster rafts near coastal residential areas.

“These concerns have been addressed in other coastal states and solutions can be found for Texas,” Reisinger said. “Oyster aquaculture would an economic boon for the Texas Gulf Coast.”

He also noted oysters are one of nature’s natural “filtering mechanisms” for helping improve water quality, and oyster structures serve as fish-attracting devices.

For more information, contact Reisinger at 956-361-8236 or Tony.Reisinger@ag.tamu.edu.

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Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contacts: Tony Reisinger, 956-361-8236, tony.Reisinger@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. John Scarpa, 361-825-2369, john.scarpa@tamucc.edu

 

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