Freshly shucked Chesapeake Bay oysters

Oysters Make Big Comeback in the Chesapeake Bay

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The Chesapeake Bay has experienced a remarkably fruitful oyster season, with the harvest exceeding 632,000 bushels, the highest in over 30 years. The season, which ran from November 1, 2022, through March 31, 2023 for dredging boats, and from October 1, 2022, through March 31, 2023, for non-dredging boats, benefited from favorable natural conditions such as increased salinity levels and improved water quality.

Maryland Watermen’s Association President, Robert T. Brown, attributed this success to a new oyster management plan and emphasized the significance of conservation efforts. Smaller oysters were left unharvested to ensure a sustainable future supply. Additionally, the state of Maryland has received nearly $1 million in federal funds for oyster restoration and resiliency research.

Environmental organizations, such as ShoreRivers, have also actively contributed to conservation efforts by participating in initiatives like Operation Build-a-Reef: Eastern Bay, which led to the planting of 18 million oysters near Tilghman Point. Such efforts aim to combat pollution and enhance the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem while also boosting the local economy through sustainable oyster harvesting. (Learn More)