PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) – Oyster season is finally here, but there are a lot of boats docked at the Pass Christian Harbor.

“Today we had seven boats go out,” said oysterman Danny Peterson. “Usually it’s 250, 300 boats.”

His assessment for the seven-day season sounds dire.

“Oysters are looking bad,” he said. “A lot of dead shells.”

Peterson said he doubts anyone will come close to the 20-sack dredging limit set by the Department of Marine Resources.

“Maybe next year will be better, but I don’t see it happening this year,” Peterson said. “It’s just hard. Got to go so far to get the oysters. All the oysters that are right here, the reefs, are all dead.”

At Kimball’s Seafood, the low oyster yield is making a big impact as well.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook, people wanting to know about the Mississippi Sound oysters and, of course, I’ve got to tell them we don’t have any yet,” said owner Darlene Kimball. “I have to tell them there’s not that many boats out.”

For Thanksgiving, the only oysters that Kimball sold were from Louisiana and Texas.

Now, there isn’t much of an oyster season left.

“It’s very depressing,” Peterson said. “We used to get real excited about oyster season.”

Fishermen are allowed to fish until 4 p.m. before having their catch tagged and allowed to sell.

They are hoping to get at least $40 a sack to pay their bills.

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