HARLINGEN — It’s a pearl of an idea.
Wild oysters already are harvested in a strictly regulated fishery in Texas. But beginning as early as the end of this year, these prized shellfish raised on saltwater farms in the Laguna Madre and elsewhere along the coast could begin hitting seafood stores.
Last year Texas became the final state on the Gulf of Mexico to legalize off-bottom oyster mariculture, a process which uses raised “beds” in shallow waters which oysters attach to, grow from, and eventually are plucked and processed.
Nationally, the farmed oyster business generates about $175 million annually. In Texas, it could quickly become a multi-million-dollar industry, too.
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