- Associated Press - Sunday, February 18, 2018

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - A state agency is offering Mississippi oystermen a new dredge to catch oysters after banning another kind that was more destructive to oyster reefs.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says it will give a new $1,300 bag dredge to any licensed oysterman who turns in a basket dredge.

The Marine Resources Commission banned basket dredges last year.

Spokeswoman Melissa Scallan says the exchanges are being paid for by a federal grant that is meant to help Mississippi’s oyster fishery recover from damage caused by 2011’ opening of the Bonnet Carre (BAHN’-ee CAYR’-ee) Spillway in Louisiana. That channel sent a pulse of freshwater into the Mississippi Sound, killing 90 percent of Mississippi’s oysters for lack of saltwater.

Scallan says the agency estimates 100 fishermen will make the exchange.

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