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State project to rebuild oyster reefs begins

PASS CHRISTIAN (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has started a multi-phase project to restore oyster reefs in the western Mississippi Sound.

Department spokeswoman Melissa Scallan says employees and contractors are working to add 350 acres of cultch to several reefs over the next few weeks.

According to the Oyster Reef Restoration Project, cultch is a fossilized material that’s produced by a living organism and designed to provide points of attachment for oysters.

Erik Broussard, assistant director of the DMR’s Shellfish Bureau, says the purpose of this project is to restore Mississippi’s oyster reefs and increase future production. He says they’ll do additional planting in the fall and next spring.