The Governor’s Oyster Council has delivered its almost 70-page report to Governor Phil Bryant, and now the question is – how to make its recommendations become a reality. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports.
Department of Marine Resources director Jamie Miller hands Governor Bryant the council’s report at a presentation in Biloxi Tuesday. Bryant says the goal is to produce a million sacks of oysters a year by 2025.
"We can do this, because we now have a plan of action," he says. "Not just a report, not just something that tells us where we're at and what's going on today, but where we're going in the future."
A decade ago, Mississippi was harvesting 400,000 sacks of oysters. This past season, it was 26,000.
Ed Cake, chief science officer for Gulf Environmental Associates, was a member of one of the council committees. He says the plan is a good one, but he wants to make sure there is follow through.
"Now we need to implement the findings, projects and goals, and we need to look at this issue probably every six months to a year," he says.
DMR director Miller says some of the most immediately do-able ideas are creating incentives and lowering regulatory hurdles for the private sector.
"We're going to help partner with the private sector to find those areas of the Mississippi Sound where they can grow their own oysters, and I believe when we get them growing their own oysters in large acreages, that's going to be the biggest difference that we see."
Miller says the agency is also taking a more aggressive role in aquaculture and plans to do more consistent reef improvements.