(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Legislation that would task the Oyster Advisory Commission with developing consensus-based recommendations for the future of oyster fishery management in Maryland has now passed both the House and the Senate. Backed by the General Assembly's leadership as well as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), it will now go to the Governor's office for signature or veto. The Governor could also take no action which still allows the bill to become law.
Following passage, CBF's Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost issued this statement.
"The 2018 Maryland oyster stock assessment found that, overall, oysters continue to decline, and that overfishing is occurring in more than half of Maryland's waters. Oysters are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
"Though the oyster fishery has long been considered a symbol of the Chesapeake Bay region, it will not exist if management continues as it has for the past 150 years. However, a thriving industry and ecosystem can co-exist if the state implements scientifically-driven management with broad stakeholder support that rebuilds the Bay's oyster population.
"The Chesapeake Bay Foundation thanks sponsors Senator Elfreth and Delegate Barve, and President Miller and Speaker Busch, for their leadership in passing this important legislation. We urge Governor Hogan to sign this bill and commit to working with all stakeholders to develop a plan that benefits water quality and the region's economy."