It is possible the dredgers will not continue to operate. In the federal bill that regulates estuaries Galveston Bay is defined as an estuary. Eckhardt has found a requirement that Corps of Engineers permits must be issued for dredging in navigable waters. The Parker Brothers had a permit that expired and have requested another. Other dredgers have no permits. The entire matter could eventually be decided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior.
If members of the Fish and Wildlife Service should ever be so pedestrian as to consult the
, they would read: "The simplest form of oyster culture is the preservation of natural oyster beds. Upon this, in fact, depends the whole future of the industry, since it is not probable that any system of artificial breeding can be devised which will render it possible to keep up a supply without at least occasional recourse to seed oysters produced under natural conditions. It is the opinion of almost all who have studied the subject that any natural bed may in time be destroyed by overfishing, by burying the breeding oysters, by covering up the projections suitable for the reception of spat and by breaking down, through the action of heavy dredges, the ridges which were especially fitted to be the seats of colonies."
"There is little time left," says State Representative Ed J. Harris from Galveston. "The shell in Galveston Bay, including the live reefs, will be gone in less than a decade. If the next legislature approves this selfish destruction, as this one did, it will be too late."