Louisiana Oyster Harvesting Areas Reopen Today
Louisiana oysters will soon be back in retail stores and restaurants. Several areas will reopen today after state officials closed all harvest areas as a precautionary measure during the landfall of Hurricane Gustav on Sept. 1.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Office of Public Health officially reopened oyster harvest areas 1, 2, 3 and 4 at sunrise today.
"This is the first time in the history of the Louisiana oyster industry that oyster harvesting has not been allowed for 18 consecutive days across the entire state," says Al Sunseri, chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force. "Oyster farmers, fisherman and dealers have not completely picked up the pieces since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike ravaged our coastline, but we are ready to provide oyster lovers everywhere with fresh and salty Louisiana oysters again."
DHH has the authority to open and close harvest areas in Louisiana and will reopen the remaining areas when it is determined that they are suitable for harvest. Water standards for oyster harvesting areas are set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program and can be found at www.issc.org.
Yesterday, representatives of Louisiana's $2.6 billion seafood industry left for Capitol Hill to seek relief for the estimated $300 million in economic losses from the hurricanes.