The State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has cut the ribbon on a new $3 million oyster hatchery in Grand Isle that will more than double production of the larvae used to seed oyster grounds. Statewide Oyster Program Manager Patrick Banks says they’ve seen major decreases in oysters since the BP oil spill and this will be an important component to boosting the oyster population.
“Hopefully into the future this hatchery will help to rehabilitate those grounds, increase the harvest and increase the economic return to the people of Louisiana.”
Banks says the money came as part of the BP oil spill settlement. He says the facility will build back up the oyster industry by providing young oysters to damaged reefs and will help mimic the natural reproduction process.
“We’ll be able to produce oysters here at the hatchery, take the young oysters out to the reefs, reseed those reefs and give Mother Nature a little jump start to try to heal herself.”
Banks says the primary purpose of the hatchery is a rehabilitation strategy to get more oysters on public grounds. He says they’re not sure how many will survive once released but the facility is capable of producing one billion oyster larvae per year.
“You know any animal we can put out into that area is a big advantage to those reefs."