Texas has a new industry: oyster farming will be legal in Texas as of September 1.
The new law incorporates Texas in a growing industry that state law historically prohibited. Texas was the only coastal state in the United States that did not allow oyster farming.
Currently, commercial oyster aquaculture rakes in $173 million a year nationwide, according to NOAA figures. Add in the harvest of wild oysters, and the figure jumps to $217 million a year.
The Texas portion of that has been shrinking over the years due to hurricanes and years of drought followed by too much rain. In 2008, Hurricane Ike wiped out half the oyster population in Galveston Bay, the state’s most profitable oyster fishery. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey just about finished off the industry.