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Oysters Are Getting Tougher

Health Welfare Oysters +5 more

US - A new Chesapeake Bay Foundation report finds that Chesapeake Bay oysters are developing natural resistance to the diseases that have so devastated the Bay's oyster population in recent decades.

To accelerate that natural selection process and the eventual re-population of the Bay with native oysters, the CBF report calls for Virginia and Maryland to create sanctuaries protecting approximately 40 per cent of historical oyster grounds, greater funding to rebuild and restore reefs, and stepped-up efforts to prevent oyster poaching from protected reefs.

The report also cites growing popularity and profitability of aquaculture, or oyster farming, in the Bay, and urges Virginia and Maryland to encourage aquaculture among watermen through training programs, fee waivers, expedited permit approvals, grants, and other incentives.

A surging oyster aquaculture industry could produce millions in new revenue and hundreds of new jobs in the region, the report finds.

With strong and appropriate management, oysters may well rebound the same as crabs," said CBF President Will Baker.

"Nature seems to be doing its part, and scientists and state policymakers can help by restoring and protecting more historical oyster reefs. Equally important, oyster aquaculture is proving to be a viable and profitable boost to the Bay's oyster industry without depleting the wild oyster population. To paraphrase, we think we can have our oyster and eat it, too."