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DMR program moves 40,000 sacks of oysters

MELISSA SCALLAN/DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCESPiles of oysters are moved out of harm's way in west Hancock County.
MELISSA SCALLAN/DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCESPiles of oysters are moved out of harm's way in west Hancock County.

BILOXI -- The first phase of the state Department of Marine Resources' emergency oyster recovery program ended Wednesday with 40,000 sacks of oysters successfully relocated within three days.

DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said weather conditions and the availability of oysters were factors in making the decision to transplant them to waters that wouldn't be affected by freshwater intrusion from the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway after Mississippi River flooding.

"After evaluating what the fishermen harvested on Wednesday, we realized that the majority of the oysters have been taken from St. Joe Reef," Miller said. "Also, weather conditions will begin deteriorating Thursday, and that was another factor we considered when making this decision."

Early Wednesday, DMR officials initially estimated only 12,000 to 15,000 sacks of oysters were relocated, but the official count proved more than double that amount, spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said.

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