(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Today Governor Hogan announced that the state will shift restoration efforts from Breton Bay to the Manokin River. Since the Manokin River was closed to harvest in 2010 the number of large oysters has steadily increased, and in 2015 reached the highest level in more than 20 years. Over that same time, mortality from disease has dropped by more than half.
The decision to use only state funds for restoration on the Manokin raises serious concerns that the sanctuary could be opened to harvest in the future. Alison Prost, CBF's Maryland Executive Director, issued this statement concerning these developments.
"CBF has long supported the selection of the Manokin River and we look forward to working with the Administration on a plan to achieve meaningful ecological restoration. With up to 800 acres that could be restored, it has the potential to significantly enhance both the Bay's oyster population and the benefits that oysters provide.
"In order to meet Bay Watershed Agreement obligations and honor Maryland's commitment to oyster restoration, the Manokin River must be fully restored and protected from harvest. The state's decision to move forward without federal partners may open the door to future harvest. We urge the Governor to take that option off the table and ensure that taxpayer funded restoration provides permanent water quality benefits."