The State of Texas this month launched the oyster mariculture (aquaculture in the ocean) industry, providing an opportunity for significant economic activity along Galveston County, the Gulf Coast, Coastal Bend, and across the state. The new industry along the Texas coast allows people to lease public waters to grow and harvest oysters commercially.

Texas had been the only coastal state in the country that did not engage in cultivated oyster mariculture, forcing Texas restaurants to import farm-grown half-shell oysters from other states.

“The time has come for these Texas-grown oysters to be served in restaurants across this country,” State Rep. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi said. “We have worked for years to bring oyster mariculture to Texas because the economic and cultural benefits for our region are limitless.”

Rep. Hunter, who authored House Bill 1300 last year to bring the industry to Texas, will host an online symposium on this new industry from 2 to 3 p.m. September 16. The summit, also sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, will be available for the public to view at http://bit.ly/oystersummit.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently launched a website allowing the public to apply to open an oyster farm. The Department has also posted an FAQ page to provide more information about this new Texas industry.