Oyster culture in Galveston Bay
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Oyster culture in Texas is generally limited to the private oyster lease program in Galveston Bay. There are 43 private leases having 2322 acres located in mid-Galveston and East Galveston Bays. The transplanting of oysters from restricted areas to leases in approved areas is currently the only means of obtaining seed and market oysters. The transplanting of oysters from restricted waters reduces the incentive for illegal harvest and allows the commercial industry to fully utilize the oyster resources of Galveston Bay. From 1972-1996, the coastwide harvest of oyster meats averaged 3,245,972 pounds per year. The annual average Galveston Bay harvest (including lease production) yielded 2,520,795 pounds of oyster meat during this period. Private lease production yielded an average of 839,505 pounds of meat per year during 1977-1996. Private leases yielded about 26% of statewide production and 33.3% of Galveston Bay production. Other methods of oyster culture in Galveston Bay have been limited to occasional shell plantings, artificial reef construction, and cage culture using hatchery-reared seed
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