Gulf of Mexico
Stacks of metal bags with oysters on an oyster farm. via Shutterstock

TX - Texas to Start Issuing Oyster Farming Permits: ‘For Those Who Are Well-Informed it Can be a Profitable Endeavor’

The application process is getting started for farmers looking to join the newly launched oyster mariculture industry in Texas, the last state on the Gulf of Mexico to allow it.

The new industry’s projected economic contribution to the Texas economy is expected to be significant.

“The primary goal of this new industry is to provide jobs to restore working waterfronts in Texas damaged three years ago by Hurricane Harvey,” Dr. Joe Fox, Chair of the Marine Resource Development, Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University Corpus-Christi, told The Center Square by email.

“It is also being developed to provide oysters to Texas retailers and that entire value chain to offset a declining and unpredictable natural fishery,” Fox said. “Overall economic input to the Texas economy could be in the tens of millions of dollars or more if you consider everyone who will benefit from it.”

The farms, which are habitat for sport fish, also would support the Texas recreational fishing industry, Fox added.

The state legislature voted to approve oyster farming in 2019.

HRI is building the first research oyster hatchery on the Texas coast, the Texas Oyster Center, which will grow oyster larvae to both support reef restoration and train a local workforce in oyster mariculture and sustainable seafood careers, Fox said.

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