This is not a commercial project.
The way I understand it is that a combination of over fishing in the 60ís and disease have caused the oyster population in the Chesapeake to crash. It seems that Dermo (Dermo Facts http://www.vims.edu/env/research/shellfish/dermo.html
) and MSX (MSX Facts http://www.vims.edu/env/research/shellfish/msx.html
) kill most young oysters in their second season here. I tested it by keeping some and sure enough they died the second summer. The CBF is saying that the native oyster will come back in time if protected cause some oysters are naturally resistant to dermo and MSX but it would take a long time. What the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is doing is trying to jump start the oyster population.
Oysters reproduce by broadcasting Sperm and Eggs into the water column. So if there is one oyster at each end of a creek the odds of them reproducing is slim. However with 1000ís of Spat, baby oysters, in our floats the biomass is high enough for reproduction to occur.
What we are doing is once a year we get Spat via a contribution, tax deductible, to the CBF. The Spat are placed in bags or Taylor floats at your personal pier. The owner takes care of the little guys for one year. The oysters grow and breed, at least once, in your creek. Then in August the oyster gardeners donate the oysters that they have raised back to the CBF and start the cycle again with new Spat. The collected oysters go to a protected reef. With many 1000ís of oysters delivered to the reef in one day the odds for survival is pretty good. Since the oyster are coming from all over the lower bay they bring different genes to the reef also.
The CBF is saying that this program could bring the oyster population back within 10 years. The good news is that the guys that have been into it for a few years are reporting wild oysters in their creeks and in the area of the reef, wild oysters are definitely multiplying. . So, it looks like it is working.
If you have a water front property, here is your way to help the bay.. And it is tax deductible. More info here http://www.deq.virginia.gov/coastal/gardening.html