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Local Oysters May Have the Edge in Chesapeake

Biosecurity Welfare Water quality +10 more

MARYLAND, US - A few weeks ago, the Chesapeake Bay's oysters made big news in Maryland when state biologists revealed the number of oysters dying from disease appears to have dropped for the fifth year in a row. Virginia also has good news to share about its native oysters.

Over the past few years, native oyster efforts in the commonwealth have produced vibrant oyster beds and bigger aquaculture harvests, says Michael Lipford and Ann Jennings for the Richmond Times Dispatch. According to the news organisation, since 2005, native oyster aquaculture plantings have nearly tripled, and harvests have increased five-fold.

It may seem odd then that Virginia, Maryland, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering a proposal to purposefully introduce another oyster, one from Asia, into the Chesapeake Bay.

Yes, this decision, which will be made in the coming months, comes at a time when the news from the Chesapeake Bay has been mostly bad: crab harvests are down, sediments cloud Bay waters, and "dead zones" of low oxygen reduce critical habitat for the Bay's fish.

But today, Virginia's native oyster restoration work is offering a ray of light in the Bay's otherwise murky waters, rendering the necessity of introducing a foreign oyster moot.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
- Alternatively, read our report - Back from the Brink: Resuscitating Oysters in Chesapeake Bay - by clicking here.