Mississippi offers to exchange oyster dredges at no cost
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A state agency is offering Mississippi oystermen a new dredge to catch oysters after banning another kind that was more destructive to oyster reefs.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says it will give a new $1,300 bag dredge to any licensed oysterman who turns in a basket dredge.
The Marine Resources Commission banned basket dredges last year.
Spokeswoman Melissa Scallan says the exchanges are being paid for by a federal grant that is meant to help Mississippi’s oyster fishery recover from damage caused by 2011′ opening of the Bonnet Carre (BAHN’-ee CAYR’-ee) Spillway in Louisiana. That channel sent a pulse of freshwater into the Mississippi Sound, killing 90 percent of Mississippi’s oysters for lack of saltwater.
Scallan says the agency estimates 100 fishermen will make the exchange.