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Home > Current News > 2005

News: 2005

Louisiana Oysters Are Back With A Clean Bill Of Health
Posted: 10/26/05

Louisiana oystermen are back in business, and at first glimpse the oysters are fat and salty! On Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) opened the private oyster grounds east of the Mississippi River. That includes:

  • Area 1, which is better known as Lake Borgne
  • Area 5, which includes Lake Machias, Lake Calebasse and Lake Fortuna
  • Area 6, which includes Lake Campo
  • Area 7, which includes Bay Crabe, American Bay and Bay Gardene.

Private farms west of Bayou Lafourche in Lafourche Parish are also open for harvest, as well as all of the beds in Terrebonne Parish. These beds are designated as Areas 14 through 23 and include Cat Bay, Bay Courant, Bay Boudreaux, Hackberry Lake and Turtle Bayou as well as many other farm sites.

The only public oyster bed that is open as of Oct. 25, 2005 in Louisiana is Sister Lake in south Terrebonne Parish.

As DHH state labs were knocked out by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana technicians worked with U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff at their labs in Thibodaux, La. and Dauphin Island, Ala. They completed careful testing on floodwaters and oyster meats.

DHH's Bruce Champion, who oversees Louisiana's oyster monitoring program, said, "After many weeks of extensive chemical and microbiological testing of oysters, the science shows that the oysters in Areas 1, 5, 6 and 7, plus Areas 14 through 23 are ready for harvest." He went on to say, "We're continuing to check other oyster growing areas across the state and believe that we'll see more areas opening in the near future."

Louisiana produces over 250 million pounds of in-shell oysters annually. As a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the damages that were sustained about 100 million pounds of in-shell oysters should be produced in Louisiana this coming year.

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