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Author Topic: Is it time to close the wild oyster fishery?  (Read 5943 times)
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2021, 11:38:37 PM »

 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?  

Cities, Counties, Businesses, and anyone else who pollutes the bay should be fined and fined severely. Most of these areas have been under EPA mandate to clean up their '[curd]', for a long time, and they have not been held accountable. The dumping of raw sewage into the Bay must be stopped as quickly as possible. DC is almost done with their sewage problems, but Alexandria and other areas have a lot of work to do, and it isn't going to be fixed tomorrow. Every dam that currently doesn't serve a purpose should be demolished since they block numerous fish species from getting to their spawning grounds. The rest of the dams need to be examined to determine if their benefits out way the costs to the bay.

We used to have an incredibly vibrant bay, and we can have one again (not as good as it was 300 years ago, but much closer). Cleaning up the bay and restoring the flow of the waterways will mean exponentially more oysters, crabs, shad, herring, alewife, menhaden, rockfish, etc. The increase in stock will not only be able to provide a good living for the current watermen, but for their children and others who will come back to the industry.
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Captain C
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2021, 09:06:37 AM »

Closing the wild oyster fishery will never get us back to historical levels

The real problem is there are just too many people living in the bay watershed

The wild fishery is doing good. Most people are catching their limit and the spat count is one of the highest we’ve seen. Some public bottom is showing more spat per bushel than the sanctuaries that have been planted
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Mr. Ray III
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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2021, 09:55:54 AM »



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.

That's what everyone wants, a healthy bay.  We can plant seed all day long but what percentage of that will take with current factors like pollution?  I'm clearly not an advocate for a moratorium, or even subsidizing watermen because I believe they should be able to harvest BUT, if, a plan is put in place that cumulatively restores the stock, I would be for that (although not a watermen so that's meaningless).  There needs to be several teams put in place, one to study pollution, one for harvesting, one for planting, and one for disease.  All teams design a plan to solve several problems within their scope.  Like I said, DNR pledges these plans that sound great but in reality are pretty much unattainable, I'm guessing for political reasons, but if we make simple goals, I feel progress would go much better.  Lets not increase the population 10 fold in 10 years.  For example: How about we try to reduce sewage pollution by 25% in the next 3-5 years.  Next, a DNR taskforce can be made to patrol oyster grounds at night to cut down poaching by say 50%.  We don't necessarily need to put a number on how much to increase stocks, just reduce the outside factors that are responsible for the decline.     
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2021, 11:41:46 AM »

Closing the wild oyster fishery will never get us back to historical levels The wild fishery is doing good. Most people are catching their limit and the spat count is one of the highest we’ve seen. Some public bottom is showing more spat per bushel than the sanctuaries that have been planted
I never said we can get back to historical levels.
How can you say the wild fishery is doing good?
It supports a fraction of the number of watermen it used to support. It's doing good compared to the last several years, but it isn't doing good compared to 1980 when 6 times as many oysters were landed, compared to 1880 when 60 times as many oysters were landed.

Just because people are harvesting their limit and spat count is going up?
Great spat count is up, and with every oyster you harvest you remove some of those spat from the bay. You remove filter feeders from the bay and you remove the habitat that helps to support the rest of the fishery.
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2021, 12:16:22 PM »

That's what everyone wants, a healthy bay.  We can plant seed all day long but what percentage of that will take with current factors like pollution? Like I said, DNR pledges these plans that sound great but in reality are pretty much unattainable, I'm guessing for political reasons, but if we make simple goals, I feel progress would go much better.  Lets not increase the population 10 fold in 10 years.  For example: How about we try to reduce sewage pollution by 25% in the next 3-5 years.   

The pollution problem is being addressed in certain areas and not well in others. DC used to dump 3.2 billion gallons of sewage into the bay each year. The first tunnel online reduced that by 90% plus prevented 6,200 metric tons of trash from entering the bay. The second will be finished in 2023 and will reduce it to less than 98%. Baltimore's 2 wastewater plants were recently caught sending millions of gallons a day of partially untreated sewage water into the Bay. They are spending $1.6 billion dollars to fix the problem, but they won't be done until 2030. Many other areas, Alexandria, Richmond, etc. are still dumping sewage into the bay and this needs to be fixed post haste.

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Captain C
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2021, 12:20:30 PM »

The limits in 1980 were 75 bushels versus 20 bushel today (boat limit)

I agree that the shell or habitat as you call it should be returned to the bar it came from. Unfortunately it is returned to the state or Horn Point Labratory where they seed it then place it in sanctuaries, or potholes in their driveway

Spat is knocked off all legal oysters
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Wolfetone
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2021, 05:12:47 PM »

The limits in 1980 were 75 bushels versus 20 bushel today (boat limit)
I agree that the shell or habitat as you call it should be returned to the bar it came from. Unfortunately it is returned to the state or Horn Point Laboratory where they seed it then place it in sanctuaries, or potholes in their driveway Spat is knocked off all legal oysters

The limits were higher because their was boatloads more oysters in the bay at the time. We can get it back up to 1980 levels.

The Horn Point Oyster Hatchery provides seed for sanctuaries, they also seed reserves that are not in sanctuaries, and some of those reserves can be opened to commercial fishing. The hatchery sells oyster larvae, oyster seed, and spat on shell; I bought 5,000 from them last year.

Really? Someone sits there and knocks the spat off all the oysters? Last time I bought wild harvested oysters there was visible spat on the oysters shells. That's why when I shuck them I put them back in the bay. Restaurants don't have that option.
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Captain C
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2021, 05:31:03 PM »

The limits were higher because their was boatloads more oysters in the bay at the time. We can get it back up to 1980 levels.

The Horn Point Oyster Hatchery provides seed for sanctuaries, they also seed reserves that are not in sanctuaries, and some of those reserves can be opened to commercial fishing. The hatchery sells oyster larvae, oyster seed, and spat on shell; I bought 5,000 from them last year.

Really? Someone sits there and knocks the spat off all the oysters? Last time I bought wild harvested oysters there was visible spat on the oysters shells. That's why when I shuck them I put them back in the bay. Restaurants don't have that option.

There was also more bottom to harvest in 1980. In the last eleven years alone, the State of Maryland has taken 24% of the public bottom for sanctuaries. This 24% accounted for 75% of the most productive bottom

Yes, legally, everything must be removed from a legal oyster
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Mr. Ray III
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2021, 06:48:13 PM »

Best thing we can do dump some old crab pots on oyster bottom, they'll be more then enough oysters in a few years.
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Sunpal
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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2021, 08:03:18 PM »

There is a program that has been in place for several years in New Jersey where oyster shells are collected from restaurants, cleaned, exposed to larvae and returned to special sites in the bay. Its a start in the right direction.
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« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2022, 11:53:11 AM »

I think it is interesting how someone above mentions the harvest this past season has been the best in a decade.
Since it is proven that the population of the native oyster has been reduced about 99% according to different sources such as this article:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chesapeake-bay-oysters-maryland-restoration/

I think it would be fine to see the correlation of how even when their population has been diminished so much, the crop was good this year.

No doubt the population of the oysters has been decreased by loss of habitat, pollution and over harvesting (heck we have done that to almost every species that we use around the planet, and even to others that we don't consume)... but is it that practices have changed, and how much... or is it that their habitat has changed in a particular way that either they reproduced better for a little while or they are running out of spaces where to inhabit creating an overcrowd in certain areas where they are ultimately harvested.

It's all good to us go and take a look into the data that it is being collected on the matter and actually understand this situation. Let's not forget climate change has done some drastic modifications to temperatures and conditions that are certainly not established (and could change quickly) but could have produced a good season in a particular year.
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