Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Mississippi Department of Resources’ Oyster Recovery Program:
Q. When does the program start?
A. The program begins Monday, Jan. 18 at legal sunrise.
Q. How long will it last?
A. The program will last as long as there are oysters in the St. Joe Area IB, but probably about five days. Some determining factors include the number of oysters are on the reef and how many fishermen participate.
Q. Which reef is open?
A. St. Joe Reef will be open from legal sunrise to 2 p.m. each day of the program.
Q. Will I be required to have insurance?
A. No. The fishermen will not be contractors with the state of Mississippi, so no general liability insurance will be required.
Q. What is the daily sack limit?
A. The daily sack limit is 200 sacks of oysters per boat.
Q. How will the program work?
A. Preapproved commercial oyster fishermen will check in each day at either the Bayou Caddy Check Station or the Pass Christian Check Station. They will go to St. Joe Reef and harvest oysters and bring them to barges located at Bayou Caddy. Fishermen are required to check out at one of the check stations at the end of the day.
Q. Can an approved licensed oyster tonger substitute a larger dredge vessel for a smaller tonging vessel in order to participate in the program?
A. Yes. Approved tongers will be allowed to substitute their vessel with a larger dredge vessel. The substitute vessel must be registered into the program before it will be allowed to participate.
Q. Can an approved participant transfer his license to another person?
A. No. An eligible license holder may not transfer his license in order to allow a non-eligible fisherman to participate.
Q. Can an approved participant make multiple trips in order to catch the maximum daily sack limit of 200?
A. Yes. Vessels will be allowed to make a single extra trip to catch the 200 daily sack limit. Vessels will be limited to two trips; however this number may be adjusted daily.
Q. Will the dealers/processors be reimbursed for sacks used during the Oyster Recovery Program?
A. Yes. The MDMR will replace all sacks used for the program by the dealers/processors. MDMR will not reimburse the value of the sacks in cash.