The View of an Oyster Sanctuary

The following first appeared in the Chestertown Spy.

Oyster reef-1200
Maryland's oyster sanctuaries are under threat. Photo by Dave Harp.

The fate of Maryland's oyster population is being worked out in a church basement in Annapolis.

That's where the state Oyster Advisory Commission (OAC) meets the second Monday of each month. This is the group appointed by Governor Hogan to review the state's oyster management system, and to recommend changes, if necessary. 

This past Monday night was perhaps the most important OAC meet so far. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) presented a proposal to open up about 970 acres of 'sanctuary' oyster reefs to harvest.

As I have on several occasions, I sat in on the OAC meeting. But it was difficult to sit still.

The makeup of the OAC is controversial, filled mostly with watermen and those who sympathize with their views. The direction the OAC is taking also is controversial. 

The controversy brings out the crowds. The OAC meetings used to take place in a meeting room at the DNR headquarters right next door. So many people began showing up, DNR had to move the meeting to the fellowship hall of the Calvary United Methodist Church on Rowe Blvd. Now even that room is often jammed.

Watermen feel the state has cheated them. Under prior governor Martin O'Malley the state increased the acres of productive oyster reefs set aside as sanctuaries�those areas that can't be harvested. O'Malley himself was guided by scientists' warnings that so few oysters remained in the Chesapeake that the status quo was no longer viable.

With input from everyone involved with oysters, the harvest industry included, O'Malley increased from nine percent to 24 percent the portion of oyster bars protected as sanctuaries. Three-quarters of reefs were to remain open to harvest. He also relaxed decades-old regulations to give watermen more opportunities to farm oysters rather than harvest them in the wild. In Virginia, oyster aquaculture is a booming business, but at the time of O'Malley's new plan it was negligible in Maryland. The idea was to boost watermen's earnings, and simultaneously to take out an insurance plan for the future of oysters in the Bay.

There's no doubt short term watermen took a hit. They had fewer places to harvest, although fortunately for them Mother Nature provided strong oyster reproduction for several years, resulting in strong harvests. 

Scientists and groups such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) where I work sympathized with the watermen. But we believed someone had to take the long view before oysters were wiped out completely.

CBF, along with a host of western and Eastern Shore groups such as the Midshore River Conservancy, St. Mary's River Watershed Association, and others, believe the OAC proposal to shrink the sanctuaries is ill-advised. At a minimum, the state must wait till DNR finishes a stock assessment of the oyster population. You wouldn't start spending more money without knowing what's in your bank account. That's exactly what the proposal would do.

It would open up 1,277 acres of sanctuaries for harvest in the following rivers and Bay segments: Upper Chester, Miles, Wye, Upper Choptank, Hooper Strait, Upper Patuxent, and Tangier Sound. It would expand sanctuaries by 300 acres in: Mill Hill/Prospect Bay, Eastern Bay, Lower Choptank, and Nanticoke River. The net result would be 977 fewer acres in sanctuaries, an 11 percent reduction in those sanctuary acres.

It's only 11 percent, you might say. But it's 11 percent of the most productive, healthy sanctuary bars in the Bay. And it is giving away these protected areas before we have any idea the true size of the oyster population. That's not scientific. That's not sound judgment. Harvesting oysters on those 977 previously protected acres could do irreversible damage to the fragile population.

A bill in the Maryland General Assembly, HB 924, would freeze any alterations in the sanctuaries till after the stock assessment. Oyster harvesting is the only major fishery in Maryland that isn't managed with a science-based plan. It pays us to wait till we have the science before we implement a major change such as OAC is considering.

The bill will be heard this Friday, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. We urge people concerned about the proposal to shrink sanctuaries to make their voice heard.

�Tom Zolper, CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations

Stand up for oysters now! Ask your legislators to support a new bill that would stop changes to oyster sanctuaries from happening before there is sound science to back them up.

Tom Zolper

Issues in this Post

Fisheries   Conservation   Eastern Oysters   Politics   Sustainability   CBF in Maryland   Maryland Office, Annapolis  

Comments (1)

From: wty123 on June 13, 2017

remorse nfl packers jerseys issued. louboutin shoes Someday parents hollister co gone, nike mercurial can pandora jewellery australia make nike id their air yeezy own coach outlet conscience, it omega watches would be kate spade bags much ray ban prezzi pleased heart. pandora jewelry Money purses and handbags will bcbg max azria come hermes belt and celtics jerseys go, mlb jerseys but free running the dsquared2 shoes situation is ray ban outlet extremely detroit pistons jersey heavy, ralph lauren MO barbour jackets outlet yourself true religion regret doing dre headphones things. Huijia rockets jerseys see, hugo boss listen to nfl patriots jerseys their the north face nagging, omega understanding what nike free trainer 5.0 their ralph lauren uk parents alone, not to easton bats let nike soccer shoes a rolex watch busy long champ word sad adidas.nl emotion. The same coach factory outlet day cheap michael kors we will omega watches grow old, nike jordan will ray-ban sunglasses have cheap ray ban the hollister clothing same nba jersey lonely, thunder jerseys when ray ban pas cher children Huijia oakley see nfl bills jerseys if tommy hilfiger online shop we can, beats by dre headphones what longchamp outlet we toms outlet touch ferragamo shoes the coach factory outlet online face ralph lauren outlet of nfl chiefs jerseys the new balance shoes vicissitudes nfl rams jerseys of soccer shoes outlet life, coach shop factory there nfl buccaneers jerseys is no longchamp white tory burch handbags hair timberland shoes count mcm backpack increase, shoes outlet I nfl 49ers jerseys think flat iron the polo ralph lauren outlet moment is new orleans pelicans jerseys happiest.Postscript:In michael kors bags the polo ralph lauren outlet old times, polo ralph lauren we ferragamo go michael kors back toms.com to mcm bags those nfl saints jerseys years, portland trail blazers jerseys and utah jazz jerseys these air max emotional barbour mens jackets way, nfl eagles jerseys but it timberland boots is burberry handbags the nba jersey heart nfl steelers jerseys of hollister kids our polo ralph lauren outlet online greatest wealth. prada sunglasses Treasure oakley outlet online every oakley sunglasses outlet encounter, every swarovski crystal edge nfl jerseys treasure, ray-ban sunglasses let instyler us supra shoes outlet on nike air max the emotional ferragamo journey of bcbg max life planted converse sneakers the hollister seeds levis outlet out in mavericks jerseys Maybe ray ban we'll ray ban uk play air jordan retro money to mens hoodies their beats by dr dre parents from prada handbags time rayban to memphis grizzlies jerseys time, under armour outlet but polo ralph think about north face it, michael kors outlet online sale they rolex replica really cheap oakley need hilfiger outlet is michael kors outlet the prada shoes money? cheap true religion They ralph lauren want michael kors handbags to tory burch sale see is timberland outlet the asics family beats headphones reunion, coach outlet online they michael kors black friday are tory burch no less versace than north face backpacks give converse that lacoste outlet love, louboutin that idea! nike factory In montre femme fact, sacramento kings jerseys we longchamp black friday really juicy couture handbags that supra shoes busy? vans shoes Busy entertaining? oakley sunglasses cheap Busy nike playing cards? michael kors bags Or are woolrich clearance working michael kors overtime nike factory outlet every michael kors day? wholesale handbags Maybe we nike can michael kors outlet find ray ban sunglasses a variety of reasons air max to michael kors stall tommy hilfiger outlet stores excuse louboutin shoes parents nike roshe run look back, rolex watches but doudoune north face a lot ray bans of eyeglasses frames things air force to michael kors outlet online himself understand that air max 95 parents cheap jordans do ralph lauren polo not say prada outlet mouth, cheap barbour jackets heart to understand, cheap oakley sunglasses because michael kors outlet online the michael kors outlet old also longchamp lacks nfl falcons jerseys the ray bans capability. veneta Once nfl chargers jerseys in coach factory online television public milwaukee bucks jerseys service spurs jerseys ads nfl bengals jerseys to chrome hearts clothings see such adidas clothings a cheap eyeglasses picture, true religion jeans outlet with ralph lauren outlet deep feeling, burberry outlet online a huaraches girl bulls jersey happy to give his oakley mother nfl bears jerseys called reebok and nike air max said; iphone 5s cases Mom, toms outlet do oakley not go michaelkors.com home nfl raiders jerseys this oakley year, air max Chinese calvin klein outlet New nfl azcardinals jerseys Year, busy! burberry outlet You asics gel get some vibram five fingers good tommy hilfiger canada food. Put down coach bags outlet the nike outlet phone air max 90 the plein shoes old pandora bracelet man on crutches, repeating coach outlet store the nike shoes word air jordan shoes "child busy." oakley sunglasses The michael kors bags phrase philipp plein clothes "children louboutin shoes busy" nfl vikings jerseys is ray ban sunglasses outlet full of nfl giants jerseys much air max shoes frustration prada and adidas worry. He nfl browns jerseys stood a brooklyn nets table jordan retro 11 full of delicacies ralph lauren that adidas zx they michael kors handbags be nfl lions jerseys able hollister co to ray ban wayfarer eat giuseppe zanotti it? true religion jeans women In bottega the hollister online shop end vans we mizuno really easton bats understand huarache how adidas online shop much michael kors parents?Life marc jacobs handbags is too toms.com short givenchy not giuseppe zanotti sneakers to burberry outlet online let michael kors outlet online sale busy polo ralph ignoring nike uk the kate spade handbags family, a nfl jets jerseys "filial barbour son adidas shoes wants mcm handbags his parents cle Jerseys wait" pandora charms is toms shoes outlet feeling nike store much p90x3 the oakley pas cher spring jordan retro of swarovski crystal gorgeous michael kors handbags ......Zen, nike air max 90 there is polo outlet online a nhl jerseys very calm oakley store and nike roche relaxed mind. coach outlet online Body kate spade outlet in burberry the mortal jimmy choo outlet world, true religion jeans outlet the oakley standard issue heart nike roshe run of celine outlet the barbour outlet store Pure hermes birkin Land, christian louboutin Red oakley black friday Dust, tory burch sale Bliss air max just nike roshe run a roshe dream. nike outlet Birds hollister clothing store nest Jackson swarovski canada says: thomas sabo "to orlando magic jerseys go rolex watches without wholesale handbags a hornets jersey trace nfl ravens jerseys without coach black friday a trace, and go nhl jerseys to events celine outlet online together; adidas online shop Bliss new york knicks jersey asked converse why oakley outlet more mbt shoes thing, this baseball jerseys is ralph lauren uk only ray ban pas cher a swarovski dream oakley vault Floating cheap michael kors Life." pumas Master Lianchi Foji boutique clothing said: nfl texans jerseys "Dust Network michael kors purses Yiyi air max pas cher dozens ed hardy of nike air max spring, ecco mens shoes yesterday long champ this michael kors outlet online is 76ers jerseys not thomas sabo required hermes birkin bag on non-;. Qi michael kors uhren pay hogan interest only forget confidant, montblanc for the oakley sunglasses cheap love omega watches of longchamp handbags my jordans House burberry outlet online Natsuki yin north face jackets "I minnesota timberwolves jerseys think, in the north face mortal body, huarache the mcm backpack outlet total nike shoes can not salvatore ferragamo get ralph lauren factory store rid michael kors outlet online sale of converse outlet earthly entanglement, as kate spade handbags is coach outlet usa the nfl redskins jerseys same washington wizards jerseys with replica watches Zen, nuggets jersey calm and burberry handbags quiet," atl jerseys and timberland pas cher lovers juicy couture clothings , happy coach factory to soccer jerseys do swarovski jewelry things, Mowen salomon is burberry sale stolen armani watches is burberry the wedding dress edge, burberry outlet online "live new balance in the cheap oakley sunglasses moment, in coach factory outlet the moment of red bottom shoes love, north face canada happy true religion outlet moment, air max 2007 revel, fendi shoes with new balance the air max thea case, coach outlet with new balance store the cheap coach purses nature swarovski online shop of ralph lauren outlet online this nfl dolphins jerseys life dsquared2 sale is miami heat jersey enough.Love new balance Going without oakley holbrook saying iphone 4s cases "Life nike roshe run and nfl seahawks jerseys death basketball shoes deed cheap ray ban wide, longchamp and coach outlet store sub-gracious. toms shoes outlet Hold burberry handbags hands, and cried," lakers jersey just nike shoes "a nfl colts jerseys lifetime chi flat iron of louboutin shoes at least nfl cowboys jerseys one puma online shop time pandora charms that clippers jerseys you ray ban outlet forget golden state warriors yourself lebron james shoes for nfl jerseys someone, nike asking tn requin pas cher for no ray ban black friday result, burberry outlet online no coach bags friday company , oakley sunglasses no tommy hilfiger ownership, nike air max or burberry handbags even michael kors ask burberry outlet you vans love michael kors outlet online me, just nike running shoes in pandora my nfl titans jerseys most beautiful babyliss flat iron years, toms shoes met northface you jimmy choo "revel mcm bags friend," phoenix suns jerseys I will nike air visit ray ban my north face outlet only horloges crowd nfl panthers jerseys soul ray ban mate nba jersey vast;. indiana pacers jerseys too, hogan sito ufficiale I mlb jerseys fortunately; toms shoes outlet I nike free can hogan shoes not, my toronto raptors jerseys life. hermes tracksuits "this student ralph lauren black friday favorite christian louboutin Xu uhren shop chic and tommy hilfiger online romantic, nike free his love designer handbags and air jordan poetry, fascinated jerseys from china my adidas whole life, michael kors purses loved nfl jaguars jerseys his polo ralph lauren innocence, nfl broncos jerseys love the north face outlet his marc jacobs handbags talent, love ralph lauren outlet online him valentino shoes like coach outlet

tommy hilfiger outlet

Share Your Comments

   Please leave this field empty
Stay up to date about the Bay!




DISCLAIMER

PLEASE READ OUR TERMS OF USE

The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles or comments on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Web, or any link contained in a linked Web site, or any changes or updates to such Web sites. The inclusion of any link or comment is provided only for information purposes. CBF reserves the right to edit or remove any comments and material posted to this website and to ban users from the site without notice. Partisan, pornographic or other inappropriate content, product or service promotion, foul language or bad behavior is expressly forbidden and will be removed.


Share Your Clean Water Story

What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

Share Your Story

Volunteer

Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

Volunteer