Oh Shucks: Oyster Aquaculture and the Quest for Healthy Coastal Bend Oysters
Ybarra, Gabriella Marie
The Coastal Bend, located along the south-central coastline of Texas, consists of 12 counties covering 515 square miles of bays, estuaries and bayous. The water conditions here have been optimal for oysters, and in turn, they act as an important biological and economic resource, especially to northern Coastal Bend oyster fisheries. However, according to the Harte Research Institute (HRI) at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, changes in water quality due to decreases in freshwater inflow have caused Coastal Bend waters to become more corrosive and saltier. These conditions have placed stress on local oyster reefs and estimates suggest oyster populations in the Gulf have fallen between 50% and 85%. According to researchers interviewed for this thesis, these changes in the Coastal Bend and in the state are only expected to be exacerbated as climate change persists. Through original story-telling and journalistic reporting, this thesis investigates how and why Coastal Bend oysters are under threat and how the region’s upcoming oyster aquaculture industry can be a part of the solution. This thesis was done by conducting interviews with HRI researchers, technicians at the HRI research oyster farm in Palacios, Texas a member of the local seafood industry. This thesis also contains a video, photographs and graphics and can be viewed online in its entirety. The purpose of this thesis is to bring to light a critical issue in a unique region of Texas through a creative, journalistic lens. The online version of this project can be viewed at: https://spark.adobe.com/page/nsCmXHyyYaweC/
Texas, oysters, coastal bend, climate change, Corpus Christi, aquaculture, Honors College
Ybarra, G. M. (2021). Oh shucks: Oyster aquaculture and the quest for healthy Coastal Bend oysters (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.