Oyster Gardening—Spring Spat Return

Spat Return: We Want Your Oysters!

Click to registerOyster gardeners—it's time to return your oysters to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation so we can plant them on sanctuary reefs, where they can live, filter, and reproduce happily among other oysters.

Some important points:

  • Please bring your oysters in bushel baskets, buckets, cages, or any other sturdy container you can take home with you. No cardboard, no plastic, no containers that will be left behind.
  • Please count your oysters before you bring them to us! This helps us keep track of how many oysters we plant. You may want to take a sample from your garden (for example, roughly 10 percent of your garden), count every live oyster in that sample, then multiply that number by 10 to estimate your total number of oysters.

Please bring your oysters to the return location for the river in which they were grown. This will provide them the best chance of survival and will help avoid spreading oyster disease.

2015 MD Oyster Return Schedule





Annapolis 1 (Severn River)

Philip Merrill Environmental Center (map)

June 6

10:00 a.m.–Noon

Easton (Miles & Choptank Rivers)
CBF's Eastern Shore Office (map) Sunday,
June 7
10:00 a.m.-Noon
Edgewater (South River/Glebe Bay)
Londontowne Community Pier (map) Wednesday,
June 10
4:00-7:00 p.m.

Annapolis 2 (Severn River)

Jonas Green State Park (map)

June 12

4:00-7:00 p.m.

Solomon's Island (Patuxent River)

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory/
Visitor's Center (map)

June 20

10:00 a.m.-Noon


Why return them in June? Oyster gardens become very heavy and difficult to keep clean due to summer algae growth. The oysters also have a chance of reproducing this year if they are out on the sanctuary by June.

If you wish, you can wait until fall and return your oysters when you pick up your new batch of foster oysters. We hope that each oyster gardener will produce crops of healthy, adult oysters year after year. A schedule of spat pick-up days, from mid-September through late October, will be posted this summer.


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