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Chesapeake Bay: Pearl of Promise in Asian Oyster

by Ellen Hardy
10 October 2008, at 1:00am

US - A study whch is set to be released has said that the Asian oyster could re-establish the depleted Chesapeake Bay.

Seeding the Chesapeake Bay with disease-resistant Asian oysters could significantly boost the bay's depleted population of the water-cleaning shellfish, according to a federal study to be released next week, writes Timothy B. Wheeler of the Baltimoresun.

But the study, a copy of which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun, warns that the foreign species also could harm what's left of the bay's native oyster population - and perhaps spread to threaten ecosystems all along the East Coast.

The draft environmental impact statement by the Army Corps of Engineers lists pros and cons of the controversial proposal to put Asian oysters in the bay, an idea that had been pushed hard by the Ehrlich administration to revive a flagging seafood industry.

But after more than four years of research and debate among scientists, the $17 million study does not make a recommendation about what route would be best for the bay. Officials say they want to hear public views on the matter first.

Ellen Hardy