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Author Topic: Is it time to close the wild oyster fishery?  (Read 5945 times)
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jack1747
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« on: January 07, 2020, 08:58:06 AM »

"Neglect fuels Chesapeake oyster collapse. It’s time to close the wild fishery."

https://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column--20200103-dogxbqhp25dmvdfa3n4k2id3zy-story.html?fbclid=IwAR1nePHcCVhgkWAiVmQyunsyP2vHWEsQk9p04D0f_e39xTxBcGceJGlt-rA

"Chesapeake oysters have collapsed to less than 1 percent of their historic populations. Harvests have plummeted to 136,954 bushels in Maryland. In the late 1800s, 20 million bushels were taken in the bay. In 1900, processing oysters was the third-largest employer in Baltimore City. Oyster’s dockside value far exceeded any other bay fishery until the last 50 years."  Sad
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 09:15:47 AM by jack1747 » Logged

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Mr. Ray III
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 11:55:58 AM »

I think a lot of guys now with leased bottom are having problems with poachers already who don't respect the leased area.  They will be destroyed if this happens. 

And a sanctuary without a patrol is like a bank without a safe....
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crablegs
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 03:56:57 PM »

Don't believe everything you read in the paper or interweb.
This is the best oyster harvest year in a decade for MD and VA. So many oysters that the buyers are only buying 2 or 3 days a week becuase supply exceeds demand. CBF and CCA will spin this data in some crazy way to fit their agenda but those are the facts.
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reds
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 06:59:22 AM »

Don't believe everything you read in the paper or interweb.
This is the best oyster harvest year in a decade for MD and VA. So many oysters that the buyers are only buying 2 or 3 days a week becuase supply exceeds demand. CBF and CCA will spin this data in some crazy way to fit their agenda but those are the facts.

What he said ^^...Maryland has cut the time that watermen can harvest and still the amount is exceeded.
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2020, 09:54:43 AM »

Gerald Winegrad s opinion.  Who is he anyway?
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 06:52:44 PM »

Commercial and residential harvesting of oysters should be banned for a least a decade. Why we have a harvest when the population of oysters is around 1% of it's historical numbers is ludicrous. Those individuals with oyster harvesting licenses should be paid to transition to oyster farming, or they should be paid to restore the oyster habitat. When the moratorium is lifted those fisherman or their descendants should have the right of first refusal for the new, limited, oyster licenses. If we can restore a significant percentage of the oyster population not only will those oysterman be able to harvest oysters again, there will be enough oysters for them to make a living and the bay will be in far better shape than it is now.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 01:15:42 PM »

Commercial and residential harvesting of oysters should be banned for a least a decade. Why we have a harvest when the population of oysters is around 1% of it's historical numbers is ludicrous. Those individuals with oyster harvesting licenses should be paid to transition to oyster farming, or they should be paid to restore the oyster habitat. When the moratorium is lifted those fisherman or their descendants should have the right of first refusal for the new, limited, oyster licenses. If we can restore a significant percentage of the oyster population not only will those oysterman be able to harvest oysters again, there will be enough oysters for them to make a living and the bay will be in far better shape than it is now.

This a bit extreme honestly.  After being in the oyster business and talking to watermen, I feel it's almost necessary to have them harvesting oysters since it loosens the bottom up so the oysters wont get covered by sand or mud and die.  Even oyster farms have to keep their oysters off the bottom and clean them yearly to prevent loss. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2021, 02:32:58 PM »

This a bit extreme honestly.  After being in the oyster business and talking to watermen, I feel it's almost necessary to have them harvesting oysters since it loosens the bottom up so the oysters wont get covered by sand or mud and die.  Even oyster farms have to keep their oysters off the bottom and clean them yearly to prevent loss. 

Why is it necessary? Oysters did just fine before mans interference. Oysters grow on top of oysters and oysters grow on top of those oysters. The bottom supports the top. Removing oysters prevents them from spawning which reduces the potential population. The gametes need a surface to land on, when you remove those oysters you remove their future homes and they die. Yes, oysters will die, but leaving them there will result in more oysters in the future.

Wouldn't you rather be harvesting from a pool of 50 billion oysters as a opposed to a pool of 1 billion oysters?
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2021, 07:27:44 PM »

This a bit extreme honestly.  After being in the oyster business and talking to watermen, I feel it's almost necessary to have them harvesting oysters since it loosens the bottom up so the oysters wont get covered by sand or mud and die.  Even oyster farms have to keep their oysters off the bottom and clean them yearly to prevent loss.  

I completely agree. The last thing we need is another "moratorium" or "subsidy" advocate running their mouth, especially on this site. Subsidies sound political, and from what I hear, politics is supposed to be a NO-NO  on this "PUBLIC FORUM". This is the same kind of advocate who believes that releasing female crabs will increase the crab population. Unless lesbian crabs have all of a sudden started to fertilize crab eggs, then I'm pretty sure the male's role is equally important in crab reproduction.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2021, 09:54:21 PM by Wallco99 » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2021, 01:34:14 PM »

"Neglect fuels Chesapeake oyster collapse. It’s time to close the wild fishery."

https://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column--20200103-dogxbqhp25dmvdfa3n4k2id3zy-story.html?fbclid=IwAR1nePHcCVhgkWAiVmQyunsyP2vHWEsQk9p04D0f_e39xTxBcGceJGlt-rA

"Chesapeake oysters have collapsed to less than 1 percent of their historic populations. Harvests have plummeted to 136,954 bushels in Maryland. In the late 1800s, 20 million bushels were taken in the bay.

So we are expected to believe this article that someone in the late 1800s counted the number of bushels of oysters that were harvested?

Forgive me for being skeptical.   Mark Twain quoted a british politician saying

There are three kinds of lies:
lies,
damned lies,
and statistics.
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2021, 04:56:14 PM »

I completely agree. The last thing we need is another "moratorium" or "subsidy" advocate running their mouth, especially on this site. Subsidies sound political, and from what I hear, politics is supposed to be a NO-NO  on this "PUBLIC FORUM". This is the same kind of advocate who believes that releasing female crabs will increase the crab population. Unless lesbian crabs have all of a sudden started to fertilize crab eggs, then I'm pretty sure the male's role is equally important in crab reproduction.
My opinion has nothing to do with politics. Ducks Unlimited would hardly be considered a liberal organization and it has been working for decades preserving and restoring habitat for wildlife. Conservatives care about the ecosystem as much as liberals. Moratoriums are sometimes necessary. Or do you think all moratoriums are bad?

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Wolfetone
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2021, 05:05:57 PM »

So we are expected to believe this article that someone in the late 1800s counted the number of bushels of oysters that were harvested?

Just because something doesn't seem likely to you, doesn't mean it isn't true.
In 1860 county courts were authorized to appoint inspectors of oysters to enforce oyster laws, which were first implemented in 1866. A harvesting season for oysters was established, with oyster fishing prohibited during the months of June–August and limited during May and September to no more than 25 bushels/man/day. During other months, there were no harvest limits. Various license fees and taxes were also established for oyster harvesters and related processing activities. There was a rapid expansion of the fishery from 1865 to 1871, which doubled from 2 to 4 million bushels/year (Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts, 1776–1928). The bushel tax was repealed in less than a decade, so records of harvests became intermittent until the 1926–1927 harvest season when a bushel tax on harvested oysters was reinstated Commission of Fisheries of Virginia (1907–1967).


Auditor of Public Accounts (1776–1928). Receipts Records of Virginia Oyster Inspectors. Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2021, 06:40:54 PM »

I completely agree. The last thing we need is another "moratorium" or "subsidy" advocate running their mouth, especially on this site. Subsidies sound political, and from what I hear, politics is supposed to be a NO-NO  on this "PUBLIC FORUM". This is the same kind of advocate who believes that releasing female crabs will increase the crab population. Unless lesbian crabs have all of a sudden started to fertilize crab eggs, then I'm pretty sure the male's role is equally important in crab reproduction.
[/quotdown here in MS. 80% of crabs caught are female and in jan.-mar. 98% are female. open all year long no limit. just can't keep sponge crabs. been like that as far as i can remember for a $100 license
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2021, 07:55:12 PM »

There are a lot of "reasons" for decline, they are actually just theories, at best.  The article states that presently, the bay is overrun with sediment because of run off from farms.  How many farms were there back between 1800-1950?  Probably a [Sam Hill] of a lot more then there are now.  And run off prevention was almost non existent.  The TVA being founded in 1933 taught farmers about how to plant crops to avoid gullies, run off, and washouts.  So before then, I would theorize there was more sediment then there is currently, especially with the strict soil storm water management practices developers use now, implemented by the state.

What can be done?  I can only suggest, I'm no biologist or waterman.  First, I think the state (MD) makes goals that are too aggressive, without a clear path to achievement.  Per the article, increase the population 10 fold in 10 years.  Did anyone think that's really achievable?  Instead, lets try for a year or two to keep the oyster population stable.  Then, lets see if dumping tons of money on planting seed in sanctuaries actually works IF you don't let watermen in the sanctuary at some point.  Oysters do get silted over and the bottom needs worked in order to make sure they aren't smothered.  Also, lets get serious about oyster poaching.  The state spent 50 mil to restore the population.  How about increasing DNR presence in highly poached areas?  But no one will know what kind of impact any of this makes unless we get some real numbers....harvest, population, sanctuary growth, poaching percentage, etc.  These things need to be tracked in order to know what has the biggest impact....something the state seems to fall short of, for everything.
  
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 08:08:57 PM by Mr. Ray III » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2021, 09:07:31 PM »

There are a lot of "reasons" for decline, they are actually just theories, at best.  The article states that presently, the bay is overrun with sediment because of run off from farms.
  
Some reasons might be in question, but many are not. The oyster population has declined because of pollution. The oyster population has declined from diseases. The oyster population has declined from over harvesting. The oyster population has declined because of a lack of substrate.
None of those reasons is in dispute, it is just a question of what percentage of the problem.

The article does not state the bay is overrun with sediment because of runoff from farms. It states that runoff primarily from farms, but also from polluted storm water from increased development had smothered 70% of MD's oyster.
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2021, 05:05:26 PM »

If the state has been managing oysters since 1860 how could there be overfishing?

The state has set the dates, limits, and gear types

It doesn’t seem logical to tell watermen when to harvest, how to harvest, then how much they can harvest, then point the finger at them for overfishing
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Mr. Ray III
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2021, 08:27:23 PM »

If the state has been managing oysters since 1860 how could there be overfishing?

The state has set the dates, limits, and gear types

It doesn’t seem logical to tell watermen when to harvest, how to harvest, then how much they can harvest, then point the finger at them for overfishing

Man, what a good point.

Some reasons might be in question, but many are not. The oyster population has declined because of pollution. The oyster population has declined from diseases. The oyster population has declined from over harvesting. The oyster population has declined because of a lack of substrate.
None of those reasons is in dispute, it is just a question of what percentage of the problem.

The article does not state the bay is overrun with sediment because of runoff from farms. It states that runoff primarily from farms, but also from polluted storm water from increased development had smothered 70% of MD's oyster.


I don't know why you're advocating to close the fishery when there are several problems contributing to low oyster levels.  The watermen are going to take all they can to make the most money, but you can't really blame them, that's everyone, in every industry.  You can't expect an industry to regulate itself when less regulations means more money.  The watermen who allegedly overharvest are trying to make the most they can.  The people/companies who pollute instead of proper disposal of waste do so in order to make more money.

I just don't understand why we have to take away an entire group's income when they are not fully responsible for the problem.  They are simply the scapegoat.  People think: "They are the ones who take the resource, they are the problem."  Sadly, groups/businesses who should be held accountable are not, and unfortunately, there isn't enough data to measure the impact other's have.  Seems like there is a sewage spill that lasts a week, every week.  Never hear of any fines or consequences, seems to me prevention should be pretty easy.  How about holding DNR accountable for their lack of control and failure to restore the population after every 5-10 years they make a pledge to increase stocks by a blockbuster number?  I guess you can't; they don't have the resources to control sewage spills, fertilizer run-off, oil spills, etc.  But what I'm getting at is, neither do watermen.  So why shut them down?  

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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2021, 11:08:05 PM »

Man, what a good point.


Not really. They state has made efforts to limit oyster dates, limits and gear types, but they have not happened every year and they have rarely been successful. After 1860 they had actual oyster wars fought with canons; pretty sure the waterman trying to kill other waterman, had zero concern about oyster limits and moratoriums.   

I have not pointed the finger at them for over fishing. I said it was part of the problem, but I did not say they were the primary problem. Pollution and disease are the major problems.  
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« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2021, 11:16:48 PM »

Man, what a good point.

I don't know why you're advocating to close the fishery


I am advocating to close the fishery because the current state of the fishery cannot support a fishery. As it stands the Bay has a fraction of the overall life it used to have. What I mean by that is not only oysters, which are estimated to be at 1 to 2 percent of the historical high total, but shad, alewife, herring, rockfish, eels, mussels, clams, etc. I believe that oysters are the building blocks to start the Bay on a trend back closer to it's historical abundance. Oyster reefs provide a habitat for many of those species to thrive. If you keep harvesting those reefs, you not only lose the benefits of oysters, but you lose the benefits those oyster reefs provide to other species. There is a reason fisherman like to fish around oyster and other reefs.
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« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2021, 11:27:36 PM »


I just don't understand why we have to take away an entire group's income when they are not fully responsible for the problem.  They are simply the scapegoat.  People think: "They are the ones who take the resource, they are the problem."  

Overharvesting, or in this case harvesting, is part of the problem, but it is not the problem. In the recent decades the oyster population has declined, mainly do to pollution and disease and not to overharvesting. Overharvesting is happening because pollution and disease have devastated the oyster population, not because harvesting destroyed the population.

My plan is not to take away their income, but to either pay them to become oyster farmers, or pay them to help restore the oyster reefs and environment. Which means I don't want to punish them I want to help them. Not only do I want to pay them, I want to create a vibrant bay where they can harvest enough oysters and seafood to not only feed their families, but to thrive.
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