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Bid to Save Bay Oysters

US - Amateur conservationists in the Chesapeake Bay area are signing on to home aquaculture in a bid to prevent oysters going into extinction.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has sent thousands of wire cages over the last decade to people in Maryland and Virginia willing to grow oysters under home docks for nine months and return them for planting on sanctuary reefs on the Chesapeake's tributaries.

The oysters in the bay have been reduced to just one per cent of their historic numbers because of water pollution and sediment runoff from development, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Now CBF, a non-profit environmental group, and its volunteers have put about 7 million oysters in sanctuaries since 1997.

"They're dirty little guys, and they don't smell good, but you always feel really good after you plant them," Tiffany Granberg, a CBF employee who loaded several dozen buckets of homegrown oysters recently onto a boat outside the group's Annapolis headquarters told the Tribune.

Volunteers pay $75 for four oyster cages and a seminar on how to raise them. In the fall, they get several thousand spat—baby oysters the size of the nail on one's pinky—and instructions on how to raise them.

View the Chicago Tribune story by clicking here.