Our Greatest Fears


A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Robert Diller

What DNR's recent oyster stock assessment reveals about one of the Bay's most important animals

On Monday night, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released part of its first-ever state oyster stock assessment—a requirement of legislation we fought for roughly two years ago to better understand how many oysters were in Maryland waters and how to more sustainably manage the public oyster fishery.

Monday's presentation confirmed some of our greatest fears about the Bay's oyster population. The results found that Maryland's oyster population declined by more than half from around 600 million market size oysters in 1999 to less than 300 million in early 2018.

These figures represent just a fraction of the historic oyster population in the Bay. What's more, the assessment also indicated that harvesting is occurring beyond sustainable levels in more than 50 percent of Maryland waters.

While our scientists are still reading through the 359-page technical report that DNR just released to the public, one thing is clear: The state needs to develop a fishery management plan that protects existing and restored oyster reefs. Also, it needs to implement management actions not just to maximize harvest but to grow the Bay's oyster population. We look forward to working with DNR through an open and transparent process to do so. And we will keep you posted on ways you can help, too.

As you know, a healthy oyster population is critical to a healthy Bay.

Emmy Nicklin

Emmy Nicklin

Director of Digital Marketing and Communications, CBF

[email protected]

Issues in this Post

Fisheries   Fisheries   Fishing   CBF in Maryland   Eastern Shore Office   Maryland Office, Annapolis  


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles 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 Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

Support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today

Stay Up-to-Date on Bay News

Want to stay up-to-date on all news and happenings in your region and across the Chesapeake watershed? Join our digital community.

Sign Up
This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close