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GCRL to Host Post-Katrina Marine Resources Update

Date    12-05-05
Contact Linda Skupien (228) 806-7718


Ocean Springs-- Is Mississippi seafood safe to eat? Will the oyster reefs recover? How did the recreational saltwater fisheries fare?

A post-Katrina update on fisheries and water quality will answer those questions and more at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

The University of Southern Mississippi Center for Fisheries Research and Development headquartered at the GCRL will host the meeting in the GCRL dining hall. The Southern Miss laboratory is located at the south end of Halstead Road.

"This forum is for anybody who uses coastal waters or consumes seafood," said Harriet Perry, director of the fisheries center. "The main event will be a question-and-answer session with Southern Miss fisheries biologists from the GCRL and representatives from Mississippi's departments of Marine Resources (DMR) and Environmental Quality (DEQ)."

Perry said after brief introductory remarks and refreshments, the floor will be open for questions from the audience.

"The DEQ will address water quality issues and seafood safety, including the results of fish tissue studies," Perry said. "DMR will provide an update on the status of coastal oyster reefs and plans for restoration. GCRL fisheries biologists Jim Franks and Read Hendon will be on hand with information about sport fishing issues related to Katrina."

The forum is an outgrowth of cooperation among the state agencies and GCRL in the wake of Katrina. Perry said the GCRL boats came through Katrina well, and fisheries biologists collecting samples for Laboratory projects assisted DMR and DEQ with collection of additional samples.

"The GCRL had an estimated $50 million in losses," she noted. "All the marine agencies and institutions suffered losses. We kept our operations going by working together, sharing resources."

The GCRL is home to the fisheries center, the Department of Coastal Sciences, the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center and the interim J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium headquarters.


About The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss, with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at

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