The Texas closure applies to Gulf waters from the coast out to nine nautical miles. The National Marine Fisheries Service has declared federal waters out to 200 nautical miles also closed to shrimping May 15 to conform to the Texas closure.
This summer, oyster reef restoration continues as more than 79,000 cubic yards of oyster reef building materials (known as clutch) will be distributed by Texas Parks and Wildlife over eight sites on four natural, publicly owned oyster reefs in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake.
This work is part of ongoing efforts to restore oyster reefs affected by hurricanes, reduced freshwater inflows, hydrologic alterations, diseases, predators, heavy commercial fishing pressure and other natural and man-made stressors.
The Galveston Bay project alone will be the largest oyster restoration work in Texas history, covering 180 acres to help re-establish these previously productive oyster reefs. In addition to benefiting the commercial oyster industry, the reefs provide natural water filtration. They also provide habitat for numerous bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates that are food for larger game fish which benefits commercial and recreational activities.
The majority of the work, which will cost about $4.7 million, is being funded through a federal grant to TPWD from the Coastal Impact Assessment Program, a program that distributes fees from offshore oil and gas leases to states which have leases off their coasts.