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Oyster Hope Lies in Empty Shells

US - Oyster shells might not seem worth much empty, but it takes old ones to build new oyster bars.

For years, Maryland has been doing just that to give native oysters ravaged by disease a chance to grow up in safer water, writes Alex DeMetrick, WJZ. According to the author, even as shells are getting scarce, the state is asking for permission to dredge up more from man-o-war shoal, where the Patapsco meets the Chesapeake Bay.

"This is a major source of oyster shell that's critically needed to help restore the ecological function of oysters," Tom O'Connell, DNR Fisheries, told WJZ.

Dave Smith represents thousands of Maryland fishermen, who fear dredging will kill off one of the North Bay's few living oyster reefs.

Some shells will be set aside for commercial aquaculture, but no more planting for wild harvest, they will only be planting for oyster recovery, if the state can convince regulators.

the Fish Site Editor

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