(U.S. Gulf of Mexico Wild-caught)
Oysters caught by dredge or tong in the Gulf Coast region are a "Best Choice."
American Oyster, Blue Points Oyster, Common Oyster, Eastern Oyster, Kaki
Wild-caught oysters are uncommon; most oysters are farm-raised.
The eastern oyster is found along the eastern seaboard of the Americas from Canada's Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and the coasts of Brazil and Argentina.
This recommendation is for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico fisheries - the majority of the U.S. catch.
The eastern oyster reproduces in a few months and grows to a harvestable size within a year in the warmer waters of the Gulf. Recent challenges to this fishery include an oil spill, drought, hurricanes, predation, disease and loss of habitat. Nonetheless, populations throughout the Gulf are stable.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern oyster is harvested with tongs and small dredges. Both are used on bottom habitat that is covered by oysters, living and dead, and therefore there is no bycatch.
While each Gulf state has a different management program, all use size and seasonal limits, gear restrictions, and targeted closures to support oyster populations and human health standards. Shellfish are highly regulated because they are eaten raw, so health and resource agencies closely monitor the fishery and water quality. Regulations are enforced through patrols on the water and at the docks.