The two-year long battle over the fishing rights in Galveston Bay could finally be settled Monday afternoon in a Galveston County District Courtroom showdown.
Oyster fisherman are trying to invalidate a controversial lease giving control of 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay bottom to one oyster company.
The lease deal between the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District and a company called S.T.O.R.M., has been exposed as a “secret backroom political deal. The 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay bottom were leased for a mere $1.50 an acre. S.T.O.R.M. now claims anyone else in the area is trespassing.
“Galveston Bay belongs to the people of Texas”, says Lisa Halili of Prestige Oysters. “The livelihoods of thousands of families are at stake, and my family will fight to the end to stop this
illegal takeover of public resources and save Galveston Bay for all Texans.”
The case has statewide implications. Judge Cox previously stopped S.T.O.R.M. from stopping other oyster fisherman from entering the area during the legal battle. Oyster companies are afraid to invest in leases and the State has virtually put a halt to transplanting oysters into safer areas of the Bay.
“If a private company can take over public resources in Galveston Bay, every bay in Texas is vulnerable,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
The legal battle is slated for 1:30 pm in Galveston.