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Chesapeake Bay: Asian Oyster Put Back in its Shell

US - The crowd that packed a public meeting about the potential introduction of an Asian species of oyster into the Chesapeake Bay stood firmly against the notion last night, instead backing continued efforts to restore the native species.

After five years of research, the panel charged with determining whether introducing an Asian oyster to the Chesapeake Bay is viable - and safe - came back with a plethora of choices instead of the definitive scientific determination many looked for, says the Hometownannapolis.

Instead, the news agency reports, they turned to the public to help decide whether the new oysters will be introduced as part of the effort to improve ecology and bolster the flailing seafood industry.

Early this week, in the next to last public hearing on the matter, a crowd packed a Maryland Senate office hearing room to hear a summary of the draft environmental impact statement and comment on it.

"The (study) fails to justify introduction of the Asian oyster for two reasons," said Bill Goldsborough, a senior scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "It does not relieve concerns the Asian oyster will have significant adverse impacts on the Chesapeake oyster, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic coast. And it suggests the expected benefits from the Asian oyster … would be far less that first anticipated, and not worth the risk …"

"Non-native introduction comes with a lot of potential problems that we can only begin to have some idea about," he added. "Our native oyster has tremendous potential, and the risks associated with the non-native are too great."

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
- View a report on the issue by clicking here.