Oyster Reef Regrowth Myths Debunked

As most of us have witnessed over the last decade, many oyster reefs have been affected by increased salinities in bays due to the extended drought of the prior 7 – 10 years. With this years lowered salinity return, oyster populations and reefs should fairly quickly recolonize restoration reef areas.

Over the last several years I’ve heard many hypothesis from anglers as to why the oyster reefs are gone. Many believed they were targets of over-harvest by the oyster fleet, and some believed it was errant shrimp trawlers that turned the reefs to appears almost like coarse sand. While those activities will harm a reef, the truth is that the higher salinity of the drought stricken bays allowed one of the oyster’s predators to enter bays in numbers sufficient to totally obliterate the reefs. The ‘Oyster Drill’ secrets sulfuric acid to create a hole in the shell of an oyster and feed on the protein contained inside. Once the oyster is dead, it’s shell will continue to degrade into small fragments.

If what was formerly a reef does not contain sufficient substrate size of either reclaimed oyster shells, or something hard like rock or metal to hold the new oyster larva or ‘spat’ then that reef may never be re-colonized and may never return to a quality fishing location. That reef would be classified as dead and no longer a good waypoint. However, some of the dead reefs were only partially degraded and will return with this years low salinities.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

Tobin
 

My Story. Born right on the water in Southern Louisiana, I was fishing with a Snoopy pole while still in diapers. Fished Freshwater until the end of college catching large mouth bass in the 8, 9, and 10lb range. Decided to give the saltwater bays a try and my first attempts I got my 'butt' handed to me even though I was a good bass fisherman with numerous fish over 8lbs. That was 20 years ago. So to say that we understand your saltwater fishing frustration is to say the least. We've been there, and we've figured out what works and what doesn't. I started diving into the knowledge and using my skills from Ecology and testing those hypothesis to find what works and why as it pertained to where the fish actually were, and then also to find them the day of. I was lucky enough to find some great fishing guides along my journey... those that think fishing guides don't have your best interest in mind haven't fished with the guides I know and how quickly they forgot the guides and articles that they learned from. Guides are a valuable collective of people in our fishing community and I feel like finding a couple good ones after use the best learning resources will greatly shorten your learning curve. I know we all want to do it on our own, but there is also something to say for utilizing, and partnering with guys that are on the water everyday, to Maximize your putting that education into practice. With our DVDs you can do it on your own, but you can also learn to do it faster combining the resources of the community. Over the 20 years that I fished saltwater I have fished all Texas Bays and into Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Not only that but my understanding of how each estuary and bay system works, and how I can simply teach it to you is also something I've been very fortunate, and blessed to be able to deliver to you. I now mostly help you guys and develop new tools for you. I am forever indebted to my customers for the life and chance I've been given. It's something I don't overlook. I don't fish as much as everyone would like to believe, running TroutSupport.com and making sure you guys come first takes a lot of time and resources. But I still go when I can and when I do I like to go to different areas and fish new water every chance I get.