Landings expected to drop again
For the second year in row , the Galveston County ,Texas ,oyster industry is suffering from the effects of prolonged periods of heavy rain and widespread flooding ,which has killed off many mollusks.The constant downpour throughtout eastern Texas swamped major beds with fresh water .
In mid-June ,county Judge Mark Henry declared a disaster in an effort to help oyster farmers who were and will continue to struggle to recover financially from bad luck .
“These oyster farmers endured Huricane Ike ,algae ,red tide ,drought and now an influx of freshwater from flooding”,Henry said in a statement .”My hope is that by making a declaration here , our state and federal parteners can see that we´re behind small business owners during this difficult time “.
The Galveston County disaster declaration is the first step in getting federal relief funds for the multimilion -dollar industry .Clifford Hillman ,president of Hillman Shrimp and Oyster Co.,with boats in Dickinson and Port Lavaca in Metagorda County ,estimated federal aid ,if it does come ,would have to be in the $20 milion to $30 milion range to restore the damaged oyster reefs .
Landings and value are expected to plummet this season .In the 2013 -14 season ,the industry produced 3.78 milion pounds valued at $15.83 milion .That dropped significantly when the area faced similar freshwater problems during the 2014-15 season when they produced 2.32 milion pounds valued at $11.84 milion ,and this year there will be another drop ,which current estimates of 1.65 milion pounds worth just over $9 milion .
The weather is unpredicted , and the small businesses are striving for more and more productions.
Please let us know what you think , how the oyster industry should be improved and how these changes affect you .