One of the missions of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is to maintain populations of popular commercial species of fish. This is done for the state's economic benefit as well as the enjoyment of sport fishermen.  One of the most popular items that comes from Louisiana waters is the oyster. Recently officials with LDWF decided that several areas of the state's public oyster reefs would be closed until at least the middle of November.

The reason for this closing was the current struggle Louisiana's oyster industry is currently facing. John Tesvich is a member of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network he explained how environmental events such as the oil spill of six years ago are still affecting the industry as a whole. He also commented on how dead zones in the harvest areas deplete the oyster population.

Algae feed off the nutrients. They bloom. The algae die, sinks to the bottom, and then as it decays it starves the water column of oxygen.

Those extra nutrients Tesvich commented on are coming from the excessive river runoff into the waters where the oyster populations grow.

What does this mean for the oyster loving consumer?

Louisiana has vast oyster resources. So we will still have oysters on the market, but we’re hoping we would see more normal production.

For the time being much of that production will come from private growers. It is anticipated that the areas closed by LDWF will reopen in about four weeks. That should give the oysters a little more time to grow thus creating a more inviting product for consumers.